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

The Ninefold Path of Jesus by Mark Scandrette

Mark Scandrette explores the beatitudes and converts them into nine practices to follow the way of Jesus in everyday life.

Between | The Liminal Space of Adolescence

Note: The following post was first published in 2018, when I first started to serve as a pastor at Easter Lutheran Church. I have slightly edited it and reposted today, because the Relationship Retreat will soon be upon us.A terrifying event quickly approaches. It’s...

A Cartoonist’s Guide to Lent

What is Lent? This PowerPoint introduces the student to the idea that Lent is like a journey of spiritual spring cleaning. We walk for 40 days, practicing the disciplines of fasting, prayer, and service to prepare our hearts for Easter.

Where is the Hope?

A reflection on four experiences that leave me wondering, “Where is the hope?”

Light a Virtual Advent Wreath with Candles

Light a Virtual Advent Wreath with Candles

Milestones On A Young Person’s Faith Journey

This graphic represents nine milestones that mark a young person’s faith journey: baptism, starting school, receiving a Bible, first communion, finishing elementary school, youth service project, Confirmation, driver’s license, and high school graduation. The PowerPoint walks through each milestone.

Spending Quiet Time with God

One of the basic practices to grow in faith is carving out time each day to spend quiet time with God. This video offers 5 basic components that might help you structure your time. If this topic interests you, consider joining me for the How to Grow in Faith six-week...

The Two “R”s of Spiritual Formation

What does it take to grow in faith? Is it possible? What are the basics of Spiritual Formation? These are the core questions driving our upcoming Webinar on Sunday, October 4 called "How to Grow in Faith." (Register for the Webinar). In this post I will reflect on...

How to Grow in Faith…A Webinar for You

Join Pastor Steve for a one-time webinar. The session will offer a clear and hopeful guide to the essential practices that will help ground you in the unconditional love of God. You will learn to trust that God is present—even in the midst of chaos. Then, it will help you share that love and hope with everyone around you.

What is the Goal of Spiritual Formation?

The goal of spiritual formation is to grow deeper in the love of God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of the world. God’s love is infinite, so we never fully arrive. The journey truly is the destination.

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

 

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