Spiritual formation

Dream work: implications for spiritual directors and the Audire spiritual formation program

Author
Mark D Rath
Abstract
Dream researcher Kelly Bulkeley (2009) reports a growing number of spiritual directors and pastoral counselors find dreams to be a valuable resource in their work. This is encouraging for further study with spiritual directors and their perception of dreams. This study explores the incubated dreams of current students and graduates of Audire: The Central Florida Foundation for Spiritual Direction. Participants incubated a dream about their work as spiritual directors and were interviewed using the Gayle Delaney method to assist in dream interpretation. Perception of dreams will be measured using the Manifestation of God and Perceived Sacred Qualities scales.

Spiritual Formation of Mature Believers: How Glencairn MB Church Deepened Mature Believers by Means of Spiritual Memoir Writing

Author
Ingrid F Reichard
Abstract
Participatory Action Research of spiritual formation for mature believers in the local church based around the writing of a spiritual autobiography, processed in community, and enriched by teachings on spiritual formation and the practice of varied disciplines. Conclusions: a) spiritual growth can be successfully facilitated by first leading the believer to a deep encounter with the self, followed by a guided process of inner change, then released on mission; b) SF can be powerfully experienced in an environment which structures formation around personal encounters with God, subsequently processed in community, c) key factors which encourage formation in the local church context.

Practical Enhancements to Willow Creek's Spiritual Continuum: Prayer, Mentoring, Small Groups, and the Cross

Author
Xavier N Sahyouni
Abstract
This project explores in three parts the connection between mentoring, growth in personal prayer practices, and spiritual growth. The first part looks at how mentoring and personal prayer practices influenced my personal spiritual journey. The second part provides practical enhancements to an existing model of spiritual formation and discusses the place of small groups, suffering, mentoring, and personal spiritual practices in that enhanced model. Finally, in the third part I review a ministry project where I mentored seven individuals in their personal prayer lives over a seven-week period. The results show that in this context, there is a positive link between mentoring and growth in personal prayer, and consequently spiritual growth.

The Unchurched Who They are and What They Really Need

Author
Stephanie A Wilson
Abstract
This study seeks to understand the culture of the unchurched by exploring the subjective meanings they attribute to their spiritual practices and experiences. At the time of the fieldwork the researcher had been unchurched for over three years. As the unchurched demographic continues to grow, their reasons for severing ties with their local churches are explored. The hypothesis espousers that interacting with the unchurched will provide insights into ways to spiritually engage them. Fifteen unchurched women were interviewed for this qualitative, ethnographic study. Interviews are included, and patterns and themes discusses.

The Impact of Empowering Congregants with Spiritual Formation and Christian Education

Author
Willie Barnes-Jackson
Abstract
The researcher's model sought to establish church growth at Light of the Community Christian Church in Dayton Ohio, where the researcher is pastor. Stagnation and the lack of growth were problematic. If spiritual formation of the individual and church community could put back what was missing in the lives of broken individuals in the church community, then this could have an impact on church growth. The researcher collected qualitative data through a spiritual assessment profile, surveys, interviews, and spiritual discipline training. Data results suggested positive changes in pastoral and participants attitudes. Spiritual formation brought about excitement and increase in attendance.

A Model for Small Church Leadership to Support Thier Minister's Self-Care

Author
Jeremy S Allard
Abstract
The complexity of vocational ministry is difficult to manage and maintain. Balancing the complex nature of the church, relationships, family life, spiritual and personal life provides the minister with a struggle that rarely ceases. Pursuing self-care within this environment can provide relief to the struggle but is difficult to do alone. The study seeks to provide a model for local church leadership to support their minister so he or she can successfully manage ministry and personal life through self-care practices. The project identified ministers employed in Stone-Campbell churches with a weekly attendance of less than 125 in Minnesota and Wisconsin. A survey was sent to these ministers asking what types of support they receive from their congregation and leadership. The results of the survey identified five ministers who received the highest support. These five ministers were interviewed to determine the relationship between the church leadership support and their self care practices. The biblical and theological review examined the imago Dei's relationship with the elements of self-care with a priority towards spiritual formation. The literature review identified six strategies for successful self-care practice. The interviews identified three relationships that influence the practice of a minister's self-care. These relationships are the foundation to the model for how church leadership can support their minister's self-care.

Life Mapping as a Means of Redemptive Transformation: Change the Name and the Story is About You

Author
Noel A Sherry
Abstract
This project explored the formation practice known as Life Mapping, on the hypothesis that it is a catalyst for varied forms of spiritual transformation, quickening, and awakening; Though there are clear antecedents in the Christian tradition, the practice was initiated when Saint Augustine explored the work of God in his life, recording that first spiritual autobiography in his classic theological and philosophical work confessions. A "Life Map" is a contemporary term for a spiritual quest to make sense of one's whole life. This researcher discovered the practice with mentors who guided him through a church crisis at midlife using a Life Map. He subsequently led over fifty seminarians in construction of a Life Map as part of their preparation for ministry, observing a pattern of transformation for these adults. This project surveyed the graduates of Bethel Seminary of the East and interviewed eleven, finding solid confirmation for that hypothesis using statistical analysis and grounded theory. As secondary support for the hypothesis, he explored the theme of spiritual formation and transformation in an Old and New Testament character study. This project also surveyed research literature on a noted spiritual formation model, findings from narrative psychology, and an outline of a history of spiritual autobiography. He synthesized these data sources to propose a model for Life Mapping for use by individuals and groups.

Anxiety, Mindfulness, and Spiritual Practices

Author
Charlene E Wilson
Abstract
The purpose of this project was to impact the level of present moment awareness of a group of Christian women who struggled with anxiety through the embrace of spiritual practices. The goal to impact the participant's experience of God's love gained the highest mean change and showed that women were able to be in the present moment and therefore less anxious through involvement with spiritual practices.

How Fostering Spiritual Practice Builds Spiritual Confidence

Author
Cynthia Byers Walter
Abstract
This paper explains how fostering spiritual practice builds spiritual confidence. To address pervading local and cultural anxiety, the author provided congregational leaders with a set of workbooks designed to develop spiritual vocabulary and nurture spiritual growth. Based on the nature of spirituality, spiritual gifts, the theology of baptism and the kingdom of God, and supported by educational, faith development and neuroscientific theory, the project demonstrated how guided spiritual exercises combined with group support provided congregational leaders with needed confidence for speaking meaningfully about their prayer lives, growing spiritually, and sharing with others about their faith.

Church leadership enhancement and spiritual disciplines

Author
Shusheng J Siah
Abstract
This research dissertation is mainly a case study of the Chinese Evangelical Free Church of Los Angeles (CEFCLa), where the writer has ministered to the Mandarin congregation as the lead pastor for about ten years. Its goal is to search for implementable principles, strategies and methodologies with sound biblical and theological foundation to enhance the church leadership and spiritual disciplines, so that a so-called healthy and balanced church could be operated. This implies that this church will be undergoing three conditions: (1) a sound structure system and well operational function; (2) her members demonstrating balanced and vivid Christian life; and (3) undergoing sustainable implementation plans.
Subscribe to Spiritual formation