During the summer of 1998 I had somewhat of a watershed moment while attending Discipleship Week at Glorieta Conference Center. Since my time as a young teenager active in my youth group I had been hearing people talk about “spiritual growth”. And as a Youth Pastor and Minister of Education I had for years been focused on helping people grow and mature in their faith. But during this summer conference experience I learned some new ways to understand and pursue this whole concept.
On a mid-week afternoon I decided to attend a conference just simply called “Spiritual Transformation Conference” or some such generic title. However, what I experienced was a presentation by Ralph Hodge of a recently completed document by LifeWay that set forth a well developed 11-page articulation of Spiritual Transformation specifying (1) What is Spiritual Transformation? (2) How does God transform a believer into the likeness of Jesus? (3) What evidence of spiritual transformation does God expect in a believer’s life? (4) What are the hindrances to spiritual transformation? (5) and a Bibliography of 81 sources. Wow! This was not just a generic mid-week afternoon conference for me.
I recognized in the moment as one rarely does that this was going to be important to me for the future. And it has been. The conference and the document I carried away with me set me on a path becoming more effective in pursuing spiritual transformation on a personal level and in developing and conducting more impactful educational ministries in the churches where I have served.
The phrase “spiritual transformation” was pretty new in describing spiritual growth then, but now it almost seems to have become a “buzz” word. None-the-less, it does communicate well the goal of our personal spiritual lives and the desired outcome of our church educational ministries.
If you are interested in that 1998 document, let me know and I will send it to you as a pdf file. But you will also now find lots of articles and resources touting this concept and theme. Here are a few that I have found helpful.
Five Teaching Principles for Spiritual Transformation
How to Prepare for Transformational Teaching
Powerful Teaching Practices for Spiritual Transformation
The Seven Elements of Transformational Learning
Twenty Ideas for Facilitating Spiritual Transformation
Ten Disciplines for Transformational Teaching Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 & 6, Part 7 & 8, Part 9 & 10
Until next time…share the journey and enjoy the ride!
Note (Dec 2010): I have now posted the Spiritual Transformational paper by Ralph Hodge for download here.