Spiritual Formation Churches

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One of the major influences and trends throughout the North American Church in the past several decades has been the growing understanding of and emphasis on spiritual formation. And one of the leading voices in this movement has been Richard Foster who started and leads Renovare to help foster (no pun intended) such ministry.

In the May 2006 Renovare newsletter, Foster outlines a fascinating list of what he believes makes up a spiritual formation based congregation. It is a good pardigm and worth repeating. In such fellowships:

1. The process of Christian spiritual formation and life-long discipleship is the foundation of individual and congregational life;
2. Everyone is encouraged to be involved in an intentional process for formation in Christlikeness;
3. The natural outcome of events for individual participation in the fellowship is ever-increasing formation and transformation into the ways and heart of Jesus
4. Spiritual formation in Christlikeness is a process not a program;
Pastors and lay leadership are fully committed to and participating in the spiritual formation process;
5. There is great diversity of sources to draw from for Christian faith and practice;
6. The classical Spiritual disciplines—such as prayer, fasting, service, and guidance—are highly valued, taught on, and practiced; and
7. All are encouraged to explore the writings of the great devotional authors of the Church such as Saint Augustine, Julian of Norwich, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

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