Attending Parishioners' Spiritual Growth

by Thomas P. Williamsen. The Alban Institute, 1997.

'Attending Parishioners' Spiritual Growth' offers practical steps for developing “parishioners' intimate and experiential knowledge of God.” Pastor Thomas Williamsen (of Gloria Dei! Lutheran Church in Maryland) begins with a brief survey of ancient spiritual traditions and a model for contemporary prayer based on the ancient practice of 'lectio divina'. He then describes methods for enhancing the spiritual development of individuals and groups through Sunday School, worship, small groups, devotions, studies, retreats, and vigils. Many of these methods include step by step outlines that will help pastors or church leaders who are novices to this practice implement it for the first time. A key section is devoted to fostering the spiritual growth of congregational lay and clergy leaders by helping them see their ministry and leadership as a form of worship. Featured here is a liturgy for administrative meetings as well as instruction for leading guided meditations and developing spiritual friendships. Concluding with a summary reflection on the gifts of the spiritual life, 'Attending Parishioners' Spiritual Growth' is a rich resource for pastors and lay leaders who wish to deepen their own experience of God and long to guide their congregations to encounter that depth.