Developing a Method for Growing in Intimacy with the Triune God Through Knowing, Being and Doing.
Benjamin Paul Vanderheide Dr. D.Min.
In this Research Portfolio, the author develops a method for growing in intimacy with God, through faith in Jesus Christ, empowered by the Spirit using the metaphor of a fruit bearing tree. The method is developed in three parts. The first part is a spiritual autobiography where the author describes his life in Christ: Seed (Life before Christ), Death (New Life in Christ), Rooted (Learning from Christ), Pruning (Suffering with Christ). The second part is a spiritual formation model exploring how we grow in maturity in Christ: we discover our true identity in relation to Christ (know), as we abide in Christ (be) by intentionally practicing spiritual disciplines, and over time, we bear the fruit of the Spirit in Christ (do). The third part is a research project that reproduces the knowing-being-doing model in the context of a spiritual direction relationship, where the participants are led to use their imagination in prayer. As the participants connect with God using their imagination, their experience of God deepens, and the fruit is a positive change in their relationship with God.