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What is Spiritual Formation?

There are many different definitions of spiritual formation. A definition that describes our approach comes from Dallas Willard, who describes spiritual formation in the tradition of Jesus Christ as “the process of transformation of the inmost dimension of the human being, the heart, which is the same as the spirit or will. It is being formed (really, transformed) in such a way that its natural expression comes to be the deeds of Christ done in the power of Christ.”[1]

Spiritual formation is not something that we do to ourselves for ourselves, but something we allow God to do in us and for us as we yield ourselves to the work of God’s transforming grace in us, and also in the world around us.

Spiritual Formation at the Vineyard

We believe that as a church we are called to support all who come our way however we can, on their individual faith journeys. We believe the ultimate goal for each one of us, no matter our stage of faith, is to continually grow, transform, and to become more and more like Christ. We do this mostly by engaging the practices that Christ himself demonstrated as our role model, and surrendering to God’s work in our lives. So whether you are new to faith or established in faith, we hope to encourage you and guide you in continuing to grow.

We strongly encourage the practice of spiritual disciplines as a way of putting ourselves in a posture to be able to receive God’s grace. Spiritual disciplines are practices and behaviors that we adopt in order to open ourselves up to God and to nurture spiritual growth. They transform our inner being and are manifested in our outward behavior. They enable us to come before God and become transformed, and conformed to the image of Christ.

The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Calhoun[2] is a book we would highly recommend. You can also find a list of all the books that shape our approach to spiritual formation here.

The spiritual disciplines we recommend vary depending on the stage you are in your faith journey, as well as your natural spiritual style. If you would like to find out more about your natural spiritual style, we have a link to an online quiz, a description of your spiritual style as well as some spiritual practices that may come naturally to you. We regularly add new spiritual disciplines to try under the "What's New" tab. We have also compiled a collection of our favorite prayers (which we also update regularly) under "Other Prayers"

New to faith?

If you are new to the church, welcome! We would love to meet you and hear your story. Shonagh Chimbira is our Pastoral Care and Spiritual Formation Coordinator and is here to help you with any spiritual needs or questions. She would be very happy to meet with you and let you know all about the different services, tools and resources available at the Vineyard to support you in your journey. As a start, we encourage everyone to commit to the regular practice of some spiritual disciplines as a way of nurturing spiritual growth. There are many different practices that you can try out depending on your situation. See a sample list here. Find out more details here.

Interested in exploring deeper?

If your usual methods of prayer are no longer providing you the connection that you once experienced or if would like to try something different, we have a variety of different prayer practices we recommend, find out more here.

Looking for continued spiritual growth?

If you have been on your faith journey for a while, we are here to support you as well you continue to grow in Christ-likeness and seek to deepen and strengthen your connection with God. We have a variety of resources available and would be happy to meet with you and discuss different practices to try, as well as different ways to serve, with a goal of experiencing a more intimate and stronger connection to God and your fellow man. Find out more here.

Need additional support?

Spiritual Formation Coordinator
Our Spiritual Formation Team would be happy to meet with you and discuss any spiritual issues or questions you may have.  Email spiritual.formation@annarborvineyard.org.

Spiritual Directors
Provide a regular opportunity for you to focus on how God is active in your life and how you are responding. This usually leads to a greater appreciation of God's love for us, and our desire to love God in return. Meetings tend to last an hour and occur monthly. Contact Rick Rykowski, Leader of the Spiritual Direction Training Program at (734) 645-1103 for further questions or to request the names of some Spiritual Directors.

 


[1] http://www.dwillard.org/articles/artview.asp?artID=58
[2] Calhoun, Adele. The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us. (Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2005).

 
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