In my last blog entry I talked about "being lost”, and our need for spiritual guidance. Over the next few weeks I want to unpack this a bit more, because the more I think about the subject the more I realise how much it is missing in the lives of many of my Christian friends.
We all love our “tribe", our flavour of church that we call home. We have been part of the Vineyard movement for over 30 years, and I love our values. After experiencing Christianity, faith and the church for about 10 years, I was drawn to the authentic ways we try to live and interact with each other. To meet Christians that were “real”, leaders that did not try to hide their struggles behind some religious veneer was refreshing.
I always loved our heart for worship, our philosophy of ministry for everyone, and our respect for other tribes in God’s Kingdom. If we keep these values then we can keep a good balance between an inward journey that leads to an outward-focused lifestyle.
However, I have discovered that “worship” in the way most of us understand it is not enough to lead us to a spiritual depth that can sustain us in the long run. Statistics are against us - far too many Christian leaders do not finish well, and apparently only 20% find true convergence: their true calling and purpose in life!
If we are honest, most of us will admit that our devotional life and our relationship with God is not where we want it to be! The spirit of individualism that is so prevalent in the Western World is keeping us from seeking direction and inviting another person into our “private spiritual life”!
Did you ever wonder why the early Christians were also called “The Way” (Acts 9:2)? The Greek word used here (hodos) can mean both a road or a journey. This journey is what we call “Spiritual Formation”.
Many books have been written about the subject, but one of my all-time favourites is “Prayer As A Place” by my good friend Charles Bello. In it he uses the model of the Johari Window to help us understand what actually takes place when we seek spiritual direction. One of the four segments is labelled “Unknown Self”, the part of our personality that is invisible to both ourselves and others. Some call it the subconscious, Charles calls it “God’s Territory”. Spiritual formation happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to us those hidden things he wants to draw our attention to, so that he can bring true transformation. Deep down, this is what we all long for.
We will continue this discussion next week. For my friends in the Nordics, I will be speaking about this topic at our Summer Camp in Sweden later this month.