y t h o l o g y

minneapolis | MN

Exceeding the righteousness of the pharisee

Jeff Grenell
The growth of everything around us can be measured.  Grass, trees, bushes, people, and animals.  However, what is spiritual growth?  Can it be understood or measured?  I have included the spiritual formation statements of several denominations to start the discussion.

Definitions for Spiritual Formation…

The Spiritual Formation Vision of the Annual Conference of the
United Methodist Church is:

“God’s transforming grace in Jesus Christ calls us to become one dynamic church with diverse people in many settings, offering a new life of Christian discipleship to the world.”

Definition of Spiritual Formation, Presbyterian Church (USA):

“Spiritual formation is the activity of the Holy Spirit which molds our lives into the likeness of Jesus Christ.  This likeness is one of deep intimacy with God and genuine compassion for all of creation.  The Spirit works not only in the lives of individuals but also in the church, shaping it into the Body of Christ. We cooperate with this work of the Spirit through practices that make us more open and responsive to the Spirit’s touch, disciplines such as sabbath keeping, works of compassion and justice, discernment, worship, hospitality, spiritual friendships, and contemplative silence.”

North American Baptist conference definition for Spiritual Formation:
“Our ministry priority is to encourage and stimulate continual spiritual growth in Christ-like character.”

The Spiritual formation statement of the Weslyan Church:
“The Spiritual Formation Department is committed to connecting belief & behavior for Christ. We provide assistance and resources related to children, youth and adult ministries for the local church.  Its purpose is to showcase the attributes of holy living - helping believers to become more like Jesus, one life at a time.

The Spiritual Life Committee of the Assemblies of God statement for Spiritual growth:
“The Spiritual Life Committee urges that we focus singularly on one great priority: seeking God. In every place where God is at work, His people are focused on prayer and waiting in His presence. We urge that all of us, regardless of station or status, set ourselves to seek God by prayer and fasting, by confession of sin and departure from it, and by total surrender to Him until there is a breakthrough from heaven to earth in prayer.”

I like this one from Jesus in Matthew 5:19-20.  Read it right now.  A great statement about what spiritual formation really is.