Spiritual Formation

to grow deeper in the love of God

A Missional Purpose Statement for Spiritual Formation

Missional Spiritual Formation leaders are called to cultivate growing disciples of Jesus who are equipped to discern God’s action in the world and empowered to participate in it.

Unpack the Statement

Recommended Reading

Journeying in the Wilderness by Terri Elton

The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr

Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster

Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard

The Corner of Fourth and Nondual by Cynthia Bourgeault

The Critical Journey by Janet O. Hagberg

Renew Your Life by Kai Nilsen

Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mullholland Jr.

Acts of Faith: Meditations For People of Color by Iyanla Vanzant

Earth Crammed with Heaven: A Spirituality of Everyday Life by Elizabeth Dreyer

Thirsty for God by Bradley Holt

Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices by Brian McLaren

We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren

Cultivating Sent Communities edited by Dwight Zscheile

Power Surge by Michael Foss

What is Spiritual Formation?

The term Spiritual Formation may seem deep and mystical. Perhaps it is intimidating. Truth is…it’s simple. It’s not easy, but it is simple.

In its most basic form, spiritual formation is the process of cultivating and growing in a loving relationship with God.

Let’s take an analogy from our human existence. Unless you were hatched, you have a set of parents. Even if you have never met your biological parents, they still exist, or did when you were conceived. You cannot change that relationship. You are a child and they are your parents, no matter what you do.

However, simply being born to a set of parents does not mean that the quality of your relationship is any good. What does it take to have a good, loving, growing, life-giving exchange with your parents? It takes time, effort, commitment, communication, proximity, authenticity, vulnerability, courage, etc. If you don’t work on the relationship, it will get stagnant and possibly die.

The same is true in our relationship with God. God is our Father/Mother, our creator. God’s end of the equation is constant. God loves you, longs for you, and continually pours out life-giving love to you every moment of your life. The question is how much effort do you put into your side of the relationship? Do you take it for granted and ignore it, or do you pursue it with passion?

Why is it important? Not to be too overly dramatic, but the fate of the planet depends on it. When we ignore our relationship with God, or even worse, reject it, then we turn to all that is left – ourself. Left in the isolation cell of self we inevitably stumble into the darkness of self-protection, which leads to hatred, which leads to violence, war, and murder.

If everyone on the planet was passionately seeking an authentic relationship with God, then we would be transformed by the life-giving love of God from the inside out and overflow God’s love to everyone around us. Imagine what would happen if everyone did this? There is a simple word for it — Peace. Peace on Earth, good will toward men. That’s good news, don’t you think?

A huge part of my ministry is dedicated to helping you cultivate that relationship, and overflow it to the world around you.

Cultivating A Spiritual Formation Plan for the Local Congregation

The local church is the ideal place to grow spiritually. However, it is often difficult to do so. One of my ongoing projects is to experiment with how to cultivate spaces for people to grow spiritually. This article gives some basic outlines for how to think about this.

Check Out My Spiritual Formation Resources

A Multisensory Ash Wednesday Experience

This post offers a sermon and a description of how one might create a multisnesory experience for the Ash Wednesday service.

Mindful Sketching: No Art Skills Required (Now with Video Tutorial)

This post offers a simple introduction to mindful sketching. No art skills required.

A Year of Wonder | 2023 Art Gallery

Here is a recap of the artwork I created during 2023. It ranges from animation, oil painting, plen air sketching, zentangles, to figure drawing. Enjoy!

The Most Ironic Time of the Year

Reflections on why we feel more burned out than fired up for Christmas during this second week of the Christmas Season.

Light a Virtual Advent Wreath with Candles – Blue and Purple Versions Included!

Light a Virtual Advent Wreath with Candles

Drawing Hope | A Livestream Contemplative Art Experience

A Special Invitation This Advent I will offer a livestream contemplative art experience on YouTube. Each Tuesday at 7:00pm CST I will spend an hour creating a unique piece of art based on the theme of that week. If you join me live you will be able to chat with me to...

What is the Purpose of Sabbath? | A Visual Meditation

Take a visual tour of the Sabbath Law. See how it changed from Exodus to Deuteronomy and how Jesus thought about it in the Gospels.

Overflow: An Introduction to Growing in Faith

This is a course I created for Faith+Lead Academy. It is built on my ongoing development of the Overflow Principle and how to grow in the love of God. If you sign up for my newsletter, I will be happy to give you the code for 25% off this course.

A Declaration of Interdependence | Reflections on Independence Day

Does the American Dream of independence reflect Jesus’ dream of the Kingdom of God? In this post we reflect on dependence, independence, and interdependence.

Kintsugi Communion

This post includes a Slide Deck I used during lunch church at Luther Seminary where we did some spiritual exercises by reflecting on the art of Kintsugi and the work of Makoto Fujimura.

My Ph.D. Dissertation is on Spiritual Formation in the Suburbs. Click the image to learn more…

 

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Other Spiritual Formation Sites

Journeying in the Wilderness

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