Most pastors receive little training in faith development other than Romans 12:3, "God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith," and Romans 10:17, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Translated into practice, this means that everyone is born with a little faith that can be developed by listening to biblical preaching. Once a person has accepted Christ as Saviour, guidance on how to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord," is sparse.
Gillespie examines the development of faith throughout the life cycle. Al though Gillespie describes faith development in situations rather than stages, most readers will consider his seven situations as stages. He names them (1) borrowed faith--early childhood; (2) reflected faith--middle childhood; (3) personalized faith--early adolescence; (4) established faith--later youth; (5) reordered faith--young adult; (6) reflective faith--middle adult; and (7) resolute faith--older adult. An awareness of the relationship of the life cycle to faith development can increase a minister's effectiveness to a wider age spectrum. Gillespie provides a most comprehensive synthesis of literature available in the area of faith development. Concise summaries give the kernel of insight found in each chapter.
Because so few ministers have training in faith development, those who read The Experience of Faith will discover a new arena in which to improve their ministry to all ages.