A faith practice, or spiritual discipline, is a regularly repeated practice that
enriches our attentiveness to the Holy Spirit,
cultivates the life and character of Jesus Christ in us,
and strengthens our love for God and others.
These transformations equip us to better serve God and our neighbor. Read more in an introductory article by Chris Schoon, director of Faith Formation Ministries.
How many faith practices are there?
Historically, spiritual disciplines have included practices like reading the Bible, prayer, fasting, silence, solitude, and service. But the range of faith-formative practices actually encompasses a much larger set of activities. Adele Calhoun’s foundational Spiritual Disciplines Handbook introduces 60 different faith practices, including discernment, unity, and teachability.
Why are faith practices part of the Christian life?
Faith practices are one of the primary ways that we grow in our relationship with the triune God. They help us recognize God’s presence with us and respond to God’s call. None of us is born knowing how to do these things--we need to practice them!
Are faith practices some kind of “works righteousness?”
Many writers on spiritual disciplines, most notably Dallas Willard, have made the distinction between “training” and “trying.” “Trying” is doing our faith practices to “get on God’s good side” or prove that we’re super-spiritual. It’s the urge to see if we can earn God’s grace, which is impossible. “Training,” on the other hand, is the regular exercise of our spiritual muscles with the goal of building a stronger faith and a deeper relationship with God.
What is the Faith Practices Project?
The Faith Practices Project is a five-year exploration of spiritual disciplines led by Faith Formation Ministries. In the first year of this project we delved into 12 faith practices, providing resources for individuals, groups, and families in a free online resource collection. That collection remains online permanently for you to access any time you wish. In 2022, we released a booklet titled "Faith Practices" that serves as a simple, basic introduction for those who are new to faith practices or who want to go deeper in their relationship with God.
How can my church encourage people to explore faith practices?
There are many ways to do this, but here are a few suggestions:
Church leaders can lead the way. Your church staff, elders, deacons, and volunteers can’t model spiritual disciplines unless they regularly practice them themselves. Leaders, consider engaging with one of the 12 practices in the Faith Practices Project each month, discussing your experiences at your regularly scheduled team meetings.
Share the Faith Practices website (crcna.org/FaithPractices) with your church in a “Minute for Mission” announcement. Invite people to visit the site and check out the resources for individuals, groups, and families available there. Encourage them to choose one practice and focus on it for a month, noticing the insights and changes they experience,
Invite your church’s small groups to explore faith practices together using Faith Practices Project resources.