The subject of faith formation is a life-span journey toward sanctification. The Faith Formation Committee is addressing numerous roads and offering various tools for local churches to use as they equip and support people in that journey. Those offerings are listed below:
The Real Discipleship Survey
The Faith Formation Committee and the Board of Laity of the North Carolina Conference are making available to our churches the Real Discipleship Survey. Based on his book, “Shift: Helping Congregations Back Into the Game of Effective Ministry,” the survey is an instrument designed by Dr. Phil Maynard to support the development of maturing disciples at both the personal and congregational levels. It measures the level of maturity in each of six dimensions of discipleship addressed in his book:
- A Life of Worship
- A Life of Hospitality
- A Life Opening to Jesus
- A Life Obeying Jesus
- A Life of Service
- A Life of Generosity
Churches have FREE unlimited access to this survey during 2019.
At the personal level, each participant receives a report indicating the level of maturity for each dimension, possible next steps for growth, and suggested resources for personal development. It is a powerful tool, particularly when used in a discipleship coaching relationship, for supporting the development of growing disciples.
At the church level, each participant receives the report as described previously. In addition, the church administrator receives a matrix giving the percentage of persons identifying themselves inn each of the levels of maturity for each dimension. This is an invaluable resource for discipleship teams in planning for the support of an intentional discipleship process.
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction is an interpersonal relationship in which a trained Spiritual Director supports another person as they seek to know God’s voice and respond to God’s callings. The spiritual direction conversation is always confidential and without judgement. The director listens deeply to what the person is thinking and experiencing in their relationship with God, and supports the person as times of darkness, doubt, and suffering are a part of the spiritual journey.
For a very long time Spiritual Direction was thought of as something that only clergy or vowed religious could access. This is no longer true at all. Spiritual Direction is available to every person who desires to explore their relationship with God in a safe space.
In my own journey, Spiritual Direction has been a LIFE-LINE. Having that monthly sacred time to talk with my director about how I experienced God working in my life, or how I’ve experienced what feels like God’s absence in my life is something I treasure. I talk about what has happened when I’ve prayed or about when I’ve resisted prayer. I talk about moments that I call “God moments” and how these have impacted my month. I talk about relationships in my life and my wonderings about how to be more Christ-like in those that are difficult. My time in spiritual direction is one of the very few places in my life where I can be totally transparent. I just can’t imagine my life without this incredible relationship. It is vital to my growth as a Disciple of Christ. It is vital to my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health!
St. Francis UMC
The General Rule of Discipleship
The following is a contemporary phrasing of the John Wesley’s three General Rules – the Wesleyan way of living out one’s discipleship and growing in holiness of heart and life:
“To witness to Jesus Christ in the world and to follow his teachings through acts of compassion, justice, worship, and devotion under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”
John Wesley’s General Rule of Discipleship helps us reflect on the whole of our spiritual lives – the Works of Piety and the Works of Mercy. Each has both a private and a public aspect. The Works of Mercy include our Acts of Compassion (private) and our Acts of Justice (public). The Works of Piety include our Acts of Devotion (private) and our Acts of Worship (public).
Acts of Compassion:
Acts of Justice:
Acts of Devotion:
The Academy for Spiritual Formation – Since 1983, the Academy for Spiritual Formation® has offered an environment for spiritually hungry pilgrims, whether lay or clergy, that combines academic learning with experience in spiritual disciplines and community. The Academy’s commitment to an authentic spirituality promotes balance, inner peace and outer peace, holy living and justice living, God’s shalom. Theologically the focus is Trinitarian, celebrating the Creator’s blessing, delighting in the companionship of Christ and witnessing to the power of the Holy Spirit to transform lives, churches and the world.