Getting started with spiritual growth

FormationLast week, I talked about defining spiritual formation. I suggested that we could say Spiritual formation happens when a community holds beliefs about what it means to be spiritually healthy that they use to develop and implement a process intended to foster those beliefs and that spiritual health in others.

A friend wanted some help thinking about this. I invited him to join me in an experiment. And I invite you to do the same.

Answer one or both of these questions:

  • For me, for us in our church, a spiritually healthy person is someone who…..
  • For me, for us in our church, being spiritually healthy means…

Let me unpack that a bit more with some questions, all around the core question of “What result do you want to create from the process of discipleship/formation?”

  • As you think about how people interact, how do you want them to treat one another?
  • How do you want them (and you) to respond to difficulty?
  • When you think of your flock or your family or your friends or your community, what passage of scripture does God bring to mind?
  • How would you love to see them (and you) love God with all their hearts and minds and souls and strength? How could that be evident?
  • How would you love to see them love neighbors? What are the evidences of that love?

You don’t have to answer all those for me. But I think that it’s helpful to look ahead and see what results you want to see. It will help you think through the structures and practices you may want to use to get there. But if we start with the process without some glimpse of what we want to see happen, what result we want to create, we may miss opportunities.

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I’ll talk more about this again. But if you are interested in playing along at home, let me know. Email me at formation [at] socialmediachaplain.com. And send me the answers to the questions.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.