Resiliency and Faith

You have likely heard the phrase, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
This phrase, originally attributed to Aristotle, illustrates the concept of synergy.

Practicing Resiliency & Faith Together Lead to Better Results

Important parts of life, when combined, often result in the best outcomes! Working cooperatively to achieve greater outcomes is a welcome strategy in today’s complex world. This is true in many areas of life, from recipes and marriages to business and politics: different ingredients, people from different backgrounds, and differing perspectives can work together to create beneficial outcomes.

“Resiliency and faith share common values, like compassion, trust, perseverance, and hope,” Dr. John Poidevant said. “Resiliency and faith require trust in something that may seem unproven at the moment. To grow in resiliency or faith, such values must be explored and practiced over time. Pastoral counselors and other mental health professionals seek the same practical outcome: helping individuals, families, and communities cope with adversity.”

Resiliency & Faith Throughout the World

It is not surprising that many major faith traditions resonate with resiliency practices. Virtually all major religions encourage personal or guided reflection in some form to promote inner peace and wisdom.

For example, in the Jewish tradition faith, and the resilience it offers, provide the opportunity to become “like a tree planted by streams of water, yielding fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.”¹

The Christian tradition is similar. As Paul of Tarsus wrote, “…suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”²

Buddhism promotes the practice of prajna, or discernment and wisdom.

Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, suggested spirituality and recovery should work together, writing that faith has “…given purpose and direction to millions … a logical idea of what life is all about… a degree of stability, happiness, and usefulness”³.

In this sense, the goal of recovery, spirituality, and resiliency practices is the same.

Stephen Ministry is an active example of blending therapeutic and resiliency values with faith-based care. Lay ministers are trained, supervised, and provided with continuing education, equipping them to provide long term pastoral care to those coping with crisis.

The ministry has trained more than 600,000 lay ministers at more than 13,000 churches in the United States.

If the goal of resiliency is adjusting to adversity or recovering from it, faith traditions may offer helpful tools in the journey toward resiliency. More perspectives on resiliency and spirituality are available below. Or for further discussion, you may contact the Reverend Jonathan Hartzer at

The Mental Health Benefits of Religion & Spirituality | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

NAMI FaithNet | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Bible – Old Testament
Psalm 1:3  –  English Standard Version.

Bible – New Testament
Romans 5:3-4   –  English Standard Version.

Alcoholics Anonymous
4th edition, p. 49.