Dynamics of Spiritual Formation (Ministry Dynamics for a New Century) , livre ebook

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Pastors and church leaders can use the normal activities of church life to touch the innermost lives of their flock, fostering spiritual growth and building up the body of Christ.
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Date de parution

01 mai 2000

Nombre de lectures

2

EAN13

9781441215116

Langue

English

Poids de l'ouvrage

1 Mo

© 2000 by Mel Lawrenz
Published by Baker Books
a division of Baker Publishing Group
P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516-6287
www.bakerbooks.com
Ebook edition created 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means for example, electronic, photocopy, recording without the prior written permission of the publisher. The only exception is brief quotations in printed reviews.
ISBN 978-1-4412-1511-6
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Unless otherwise noted Scripture is taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ®. NIV ®. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.© Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com
Scripture identified NASB is from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE ®. Copyright © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995. Used by permission.
To my mother, Arlene Lawrenz
Contents
Cover
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Series Preface
Preface
1. The Formed Life: Spiritual Growth as Spiritual Formation
2. Beyond Birth: The Development of Spiritual Life
3. War against the Soul: Sin as Deformation
4. From Text to Godliness: Formative Reading
5. Dialogue with God: Formative Prayer
6. Bending and Serving: Formative Worship
7. To Know and to Be Known: Formative Fellowship
8. The Shaping Word: Formative Preaching
9. The Expended Life: Formative Service
10. Metamorphosis: The Final Goal
Appendix: What Is the “Soul”?
Notes
Subject Index
Scripture Index
About the Author
Other Books by Author
Series Preface
The purpose of the Ministry Dynamics series is to provide both experienced and beginning pastors with concise information that will help them do the task of ministry with efficiency, fruitfulness, and joy.
The word ministry means “service,” something that Jesus exemplified in his own life and that he expects us to practice in our lives. No matter what our title or position, we are in the church to serve God’s people. The word dynamics is not used as an equivalent of “power” but as a reminder that nothing stands still in Christian ministry. If it does, it dies. True biblical ministry involves constant challenge and change, learning and growth, and how we handle these various elements determines the strength and success of the work that we do.
The emphasis in this series is on practical service founded on basic principles and not on passing fads. Some older ministers need to catch up with the present while newer ministers need to catch up on the past. We all can learn much from each other if only we’re honest enough to admit it and humble enough to accept each other’s counsel.
I began pastoring in 1950 and over the years have seen many changes take place in local church ministry, from bus ministries and house churches to growth groups and megachurches. Some of the changes have been good and are now integrated into God’s work in many churches. But some ideas that attracted national attention decades ago now exist only on the pages of forgotten books in used-book stores. How quickly today’s exciting headlines become tomorrow’s footnotes! “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thess. 5:21).
An ancient anonymous prayer comes to mind:

From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth,
From the laziness that is content with half-truths,
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
O God of truth, deliver us!
Our desire is that both the seasoned servant and the new seminary graduate will find encouragement and enlightenment from the Ministry Dynamics series.
Warren W. Wiersbe
Preface
Anyone with any sense of purpose in life will hope that he or she may make a difference, somewhere, somehow. The prospect of the Christian ministry is that, by God’s enabling, we will actually have a hand in the formation of persons. What an incredible notion!
“We are being transformed” is what the apostle Paul claims in 2 Corinthians 3:18. And the ministry of the church is nothing less than the business of soul-shaping though people attending church rarely seek so much and we frequently settle for offering far less. Spiritual growth is not the easy road.
Spirituality is not subjectivism shaking off reason like a wild horse throws its rider; nor is it like a bridled, tired, old mare. Spiritual leaders are called to lead people (and to be led) into a mode of living that is decidedly ordinary (because all people are spiritual creatures) yet notably uncommon (because humans so easily acquiesce to the gravity of fallenness). As such, spiritual formation is not elitist, nor is it run-of-the-mill. Its motive is not to produce a spiritual stratification of church members, but to respond appropriately to each person’s level of readiness for growth.
In the end, the best Christian leaders can aspire to is to be able to step back from the work and confess, “God made it grow.” We must echo Paul’s assessment: “What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor. 3:5–7).
Today there are many good books about personal spiritual growth, and in recent years practical books about ministry in the local church have flourished. This book will try to bridge the gap between these issues to bring principles of personal formation and corporate church life together by addressing important questions: How do typical church activities (worship, prayer, fellowship, etc.) contribute to the spiritual formation of its members? What makes the difference between going through the motions and accomplishing actual transformation? How do we aim at people’s souls? How can the church make contact with the innermost lives of its members?
The task of shepherding the church belongs not only to those engaged in full-time ministry, but a multitude of others as well. So the topics in this book are the domain of anyone involved in shepherding the local church: pastors, other ministry staff members, lay leaders, Bible teachers, and others.
For my part, I am enthused about contributing to this series on ministry in a new century. After more than twenty years of pastoral ministry in rural and urban, denominational and nondenominational churches, I am continually amazed at the commonality of our pursuit the cure of souls. This pursuit is not at all new, yet in every way new as each passing generation takes fresh approaches to ministry. The trajectory of the church into the future is as reliable as our understanding of our past. The most valuable insights in this book have already stood the test of time.

My God, grant me the conversion of my parish; I am willing to suffer all my life whatsoever it may please thee to lay upon me; yes even for a hundred years am I prepared to endure the sharpest pains, only let my people be converted.
Curé d’Ars (1786–1859)
The Formed Life
Spiritual Growth as Spiritual Formation

Lord, when my eye confronts my heart, and I realize that you have filled my heart with your love, I am breathless with amazement. Once my heart was so small in its vision, so narrow in its compassion, so weak in its zeal for truth. Then you chose to enter my heart, and now in my heart I can see you, I can love all your people, and I have courage to proclaim the truth of your gospel to anyone and everyone. Like wax before a fire, my heart has melted under the heat of your love.
Count von Zinzendorf (1700–1760)
Growth and Form
Spiritual formation is the progressive patterning of a person’s inner and outer life according to the image of Christ through intentional means of spiritual growth. It is neither a novel concept nor one limited to any particular tradition. Its biblical foundation is in the idea that God creates with form, and in a broken world, his work of salvation is best called trans form ation. The mission of the church in making disciples is to provide the means whereby fractured and misshapen lives can be re- formed according to the pattern of the perfect man, Jesus Christ. We are to be con formed to him, not to the world. Disciples of Jesus are those who are continually being reshaped in thought, word, and deed. Spiritual growth, as is the case with any kind of healthy growth, follows a certain form. It is not random, accidental, or arbitrary.
Growth without form or structure is what happens with cancer millions of cells that have escaped the normal forces regulating cell growth expand and divide, producing more tissue, but more corruption. Eventually a growth is discovered. But because it has not been formed according to the body’s design, it represents sickness rather than health.
The Christian centuries have seen numerous instances of growth without form. Heresies erupt and cults emerge when spiritual renewal occurs without formative teaching and disciplines.
Form without growth can be just as deathly. Paul’s warning about those who hold to “a form of godliness but deny its power” (2 Tim. 3:5) foreshadows chapters in church history when our fallen nature has tempted us to hold to the form of religion while ignoring spiritual vitality. Impressive religious form echoes with the hollowness of an abandoned ruin in the absence of spiritual growth. Such a path is strewn with mindless prayers, mechanical Bible studies, and impressive edifices that kill real spiritual life when they are married to a motive of perfunctory spirituality. It is tame religion that anyone with even a little time and energy can handle a religion that is sure not to bite you back. It appeals to rebellious human nature as a system of pleasing God with little cost or intrusiveness. A few become vocational practiti

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