Here is a book that I highly recommend to all leaders who are interested in spiritually forming congregations (and other organizations). It is the story and wisdom of two co-pastors, who lead their church into a new paradigm of spiritual renewal and formation.
It resonates deeply with me. My story is similar. They tell their story with grace and insight.
It is hard work - spiritually forming congregations.
I feel we have done major, good work in this at Living Word Community Church, which has always graciously been a "guinea pig" (okay, guinea sheep") but wide open and seeking on these things for the last (now almost) ten years.
For example . . .
There was an outstanding follow up discussion to Renovation of the Church that took the form of a symposium recorded in the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, Fall 2011. By the way, if you are a leader or teacher involved in the ministry of spiritual formation and direction, there are two journals I really recommend to you. They are different in makeup, but they are wonerful complements to each other.
The Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care is one of them. It is robustly evangelial, biblical and theological (but always accessible). It provides food for mind and heart as those of us who do this important work must be alert, wise and always grounded in the Scriptures. It is published twice a year.
Another resource is Conversations: A Forum for Authentic Transformation, also published twice a year. This journal is written for a broader audience, although it is generally agreeable for evangelicals. Although there are a number of leading non-evangelicals who write for this journal and they are authors who would be pretty critical of evangelicalism. Still, it is generally a good journel. And since it is a conversation, simply converse (critically) back with all these authors.
I have a second blogsite where I post once a week on matters of spirituality, especially as they connect with Ignatius, the Jesuits and the Spiritual Exercises. It is:
Evangelicals on the Ignatian Way and every Monday morning I have a reflection/essay about spiritual formation.
I think we would all agree that the spiritual formation of congregations, so they experience the transforming presence of Christ and join with him in missional service to the surrounding world, is of paramount importance. To do tht work well, we need to be doing all we can to be dreaming, praying, learning, growing, reforming leaders and teachers.
So at the start of this new year - be highly intentional, wisely strategic and deeply surrendered as a learner/leader.
In the grace of the Risen Lord Jesus . . .
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International