This month Conversations Blog asks the question if the movement toward spiritual formation has produced real transformation in the church. I typed “spiritual formation” into the search bar and pressed enter. There are institutes for spiritual growth, articles extending into cyberspace, theories, and practices.
I think with any movement of the church there is the danger of it becoming hollow, just the outward mimicking of transformation.
Spiritual formation lends to authentic transformation when its practices are not steeped in legalism. When best practices and excellent programming are necessary to attain the formation: that is hollow. True spiritual formation can result in the movement and programs of the church, but only when kneeling is the beginning space.
John 15:5 without me you can do nothing.
You can do nothing.
Spiritual formation must be an intentional act of your heart to invite Christ into your life. This is not easy. Every day will result in a fight of selfish will. The act is not tied up in a pretty bow of spiritual formation programming. This is what it looks like:
Apart from me you can do nothing…
Lay your beating heart right before him,
in all its messy ugliness.
Ask him to do the changing.
Plead with him that your heart might learn to reflect his,
that your resulting movements would echo his own.
Every day it’s the getting up and kneeling.
Real transformation starts here.
The programs of the church can build needed community.
They can deepen your knowledge, extend your opportunities to act, and draw you into growth.
I think this movement of the church has produced authentic transformation… but only when it begins with the kneeling.
Join the Conversation:
Why is it so hard for us to go to God first?
What programs for spiritual formation have you been a part of?
How have they contributed to your spiritual growth?
Lisa Van Engen is a freelance writer from Holland, Michigan, who blogs daily at aboutproximity.com. She combines her background in social work and ministry with her love of writing to help people place themselves in the proximity of renewal. She is a member of the Global Team of 200 and the Exodus Road Blogging Team. Lisa is married to Kris, a congregational social justice mobilizer with World Renew. They and their kids Ellie and Josiah love to laugh, take adventure hikes, and go to Lake Michigan.