Since I love lists, I often save good ones I find. A few years ago, I came across this one from Mark Waltz. He asked the following ten questions about spiritual formation in the church. Back then, I thought it would be fun to answer the questions from my perspective and then get feedback from you as to whether or not you see things like this?
Looking back at my answers several years ago, I am at once encouraged because I still very much believe what I wrote then. However, I am also a bit frustrated because I'm not sure we've done an effective job in accomplishing some of the things I wrote about then.
What do you think? Were these good answers then? Are they good answers now? Do we need to re-look at some of this stuff?
1. How is spiritual transformation defined in our church?
The work of the Holy Spirit in transforming us to the image of Christ who is the perfect representation of the Father.
2. What does a "win" look like in spiritual transformation?
For us, it is when an individual commits themself to a community of believers.
3. In what ways is spiritual transformation expressed in our mission, vision and values?
We call ourselves "commuities connecting to God and others". Point of Connection #3 is "Partnering with Others"
4. How are we trusting or not trusting the Holy Spirit to transform the lives of our people?
Because we believe the Spirit's primary "weapons of transformation are the church and the Word, we emphasize those two things, believing the Spirit will work through those efforts.
5. Does this feel like an “add-on” to everything else we’re doing... or how is it integrated into the fabric of our church life?
As we simplify and sharpen our focus, it will more and more become our DNA and less and less "another program/ministry"
6. Is there evidence that our people are engaging spiritual transformation as a lifestyle? If not, what's preventing that reality?
yes and no. many are committing themselves to the life-sharing relationships which lead to transformation, however we are likely not at 50% yet, so there is much to be done.
7. What key words, what important concepts will we use to cast vision and create a culture of spiritual transformation that is embraced by our people?
Explore, Launch, Partner, Serve, Engage; Formative, Caring, Missional
8. What environments will we intentionally continue or create to help our people engage the story of the Bible in their journey of spiritual transformation?
Our celebration gatherings and LIFEGroups will continue to be THE PRIMARY vehicles we use for spiritual transformation. Simplifying to these focused "environments" allows our people to be "in the bubble" less because after all, someone did say, "the fields are white to harvest...the laborers are few."
9. How do we help our people engage spiritual disciplines as pathways rather than task items to mark off their to-do lists?
I think this is why disciplines must be tied to community. i engage in spiritual disciplines not for my own benefit, but so that i can better image God. my vertical relationship is no more mature than my horizontal relationships.
10. How will we measure and celebrate spiritual transformation in the lives of our people?
this is the next step. we are currently identifying "landmarks" of spiritual formation that we will encourage our LIFEGroups to celebrate together. There are some that can be celebrated in our gatherings... baptism is the first that comes to mind.