Monday, March 16, 2009

Spiritual Health Checkup

This past Thursday and Friday I had the pleasure of attending the annual Louisiana Baptist Religious Educators Association meeting held at the First Baptist Church of Lafayette. I have attended this meeting before, and so I was looking forward to a return trip to visit with this great group of educational ministers.

FBC Lafayette did their usual splendid job of hosting the meeting. I have talked here before about their staff and facilities, and I always look forward to being with them.

I enjoyed both the personal fellowship and the program greatly. The theme of the meeting was “Becoming…Making…Leading…Transformational Christian Education.” The program guests were Dr. Daryl Eldridge of Rockbridge Seminary and Dr. Joe Sherrer of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I have personally known both of these guys for a long time and consider them among the best in Christian education. And, as expected, I was not disappointed in their sessions.

Daryl took on a medical theme and led three sessions in thinking about and exploring ways to lead individuals through a “spiritual health checkup” as a way to diagnose and prescribe a personalized spiritual development plan. And he gave the participants some different samples of assessment tools that could be adopted or adapted for use in their own particular churches. And Joe gave a presentation of research findings related to ten current trends and issues in adult ministry. Both were immensely practical and helpful for Christian educators.

The conference made me think about Brad Waggoner’s recent research study and resulting book entitled The Shape of Faith to Come. Here is a link to an article that describes the research and the summary highlights of the findings. NOTE: Those who buy the first edition of The Shape of Faith to Come will receive an access code to complete the Spiritual Formation Inventory (SFI) online and evaluate their own spiritual development. You can also get access to the SFI here.

I think this is another helpful spiritual health assessment tool for use by an individual and also by a group of individuals to form a composite snapshot of their group’s spiritual health.

In my next blog post I will summarize Joe's presentation on "Top Ten Current Trends and Issues in Adult Ministry".

Until next time...share the journey and enjoy the ride!