I just got back from a few days away at Shrine Mont for the Bishop’s Spring Conference. Twice a year, the Diocese of Virginia hosts conferences for those who work in churches – the fall one is for clergy only, while the spring conference is open to clergy, lay professionals, and spouses and partners. It is always a rich gathering characterized by beautiful worship with great singing, hearty fellowship and opportunities to connect or reconnect, downtime for hiking, napping, reading, and contemplation, and breathing in the special air of Orkney Springs. Each year there is a program, something to feed our minds and hearts as well, plus a chance to hear what is on the hearts of our bishops.

This year Dr. Lisa Kimball, professor at VTS and director of the Center for the Ministry of Teaching, was the speaker and her topic was Faith Formation: Lifelong and Lifewide. I have heard Lisa teach many times over the years (including about 14 years ago at a youth and children’s minister’s conference in the Diocese of Chicago) and I always learn something new and come away with something to chew on about formation. She brought a new emphasis on this idea of lifewide formation. Here the idea is that Christians are called to live out of faith across the week, not just on Sundays for an hour or two. This isn’t a new idea – George Herbert, a seventeenth century Anglican priest who wrote poetry and prose including A Priest in the Temple: or the Country Parson, wrote about this idea. You may best know him from the last verse to the beautiful hymn King of Glory, which uses his poetry:

Seven whole days, not one in seven, I will praise thee;

In my heart, though not in heaven, I can raise thee.

Small it is in this poor sort to enroll thee;

E’en eternity’s too short to extol thee.

Or as Verna Dozer, a lay theologian, teacher, and author of the twentieth century puts it:

What happens on Sunday morning is not half so important as what happens on Monday morning. In fact what happens on Sunday morning is judged by what happens on Monday morning.

So I invite you to think about what you do, or can start to do, to live your faith lifewide. Are you still living your life like a disciple of Jesus come Wednesday? Teach me and use the comments to share.