Background Materials

What is spiritual growth?

Whatever we do in our lives, whatever relationships we have, whatever possessions we acquire, the main thing about us is our state of mind. We think of the mind (including feelings and intentions as well as thoughts) as the spirit, so any development that leads us to a greater state of inner peace and contentment we call “spiritual growth.”

Why is spiritual growth important?

This program goes on the assumption that even though we are very much the products of our heredity, shaped by our life experiences, there are some things that we can do to improve the quality of our internal, or spiritual life.

How is spiritual growth encouraged in a Choose Joy Now group?

The concept of the program is fairly simple. Each meeting includes input on one way in which we can improve our spiritual life, ending with a task which the participants are invited to put into practice in the following week. In the next meeting, each person has an opportunity to share what it was like doing the task. We learn from our own practice and from each other.

Basic Flow of Meetings (90 minutes)    
  1. Welcome, announcements, introductory info, etc.
  2. Prayer/Meditation
  3. Brief check-in – “How are you?”
  4. Follow up on previous week’s reading & task
  5. Discussion of new material & new task
  6. Closing thoughts
  7. Closing prayer


Small Group Guidelines

Guidelines for sharing:

  • We share, we do not preach
  • We speak for ourselves
  • We share about others the way we’d like others to share about us (“Golden Rule”)
  • We have the option to pass
  • Being aware of time limits, we allow time for everyone to share

Guidelines for listening:

  • We avoid interrupting (or cross talk)
  • We avoid giving advice (especially unsolicited)
  • We honor confidentiality
  • We acknowledge each person who shares with a simple “Thank you”