Growing into the first commandment is a journey toward experiencing all of God loving all of me, and all of me loving all of God. This experience then spills out into the lives of others as we love our neighbors with our loved-by-God self.
Skurja, Catherine. Paradox Lost. Whitaker House. Kindle Edition.
Over the past two decades, I have noticed a severe problem in the Church. I have observed this in three different denominations. What I have noticed is a definite lack of individual spiritual formation especially with adults. It seems that we have hit a state of thinking that listening to a preacher and/or attending a Sunday school class that uses a book that is more of a motivational instrument than a tool of spiritual formation and/or a class in which 80% of the time is visiting and 10% listening to someone else pray and 10% going over the material in the book. There is no attempt (other than an occasional, limited and seldom promoted study of spiritual disciplines) to seriously focus on spiritual formation.
Why is this? I have some theories.
1) In one denomination, many of the “clergy” are 2nd career and they treat the ministry like a secular career. There is much more emphasis put on “how to get a bigger church” than on how can I help people get closer to God.
2) For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Tim. 4:3 NIV) This is what I call the Hobbit syndrome.
3) Seminaries that put a higher value on a critical study of Scripture, a strange desire to conform to the culture, and a willingness to pursue any new, novel theology without regard to past orthodoxy, and almost no attempt to develop skills in spiritual formation in the students.
I am sure there are other reasons, but I believe these are the big three. I pray things can change.