Let’s Open Our Workbooks to Page ….

In previous posts I called your attention to a couple of devotional apps and in each case gave some focus to the spiritual principles and practices that form a foundation for the writers and the apps. Today I want to spend a few minutes looking at a short book that is a great resource for congregations, classes and individuals wanting to explore what a spiritual formation group can offer.

The book is, A Spiritual Formation Workbook: Small-Group Resources for Nurturing Spiritual Growth by James Bryan Smith with Lynda Graybeal with a forward by Richard J. Foster.

This workbook grows out of the work of Richard Foster and Renovare. If you do not know about Renovare, you need to. A great way to see what they offer would be to subscribe to their Friday email. You can find info on that here – http://renovare.org . At the bottom of the page you can enter your name and email address to subscribe to their weekly email which highlights some of their available resources. You will find info on articles, podcasts, and webinars in the weekly email and on their website.

Now back to the workbook.

First, on the back of the workbook I have, it claims to be a “… beginning workbook for Spiritual Formation Groups featuring guidelines for starting a group, study plans for the first nine sessions, and a questionnaire that helps map the way ahead. Based on six major dimensions of the spiritual life found in the life of Christ and Christian tradition … this workbook provides all the necessary ingredients to start and maintain a Spiritual Formation Group.”

I know. You are thinking, “So what? What else would a book with such a title claim for itself?”

And yes, that’s true. And this book follows through. It provides you with what it promises.

It is not a book of devotions. It majors on the mechanics of how to start a formation group, gives details for how the first weeks can develop and how the group can go on from there.

And it really is a WORKBOOK! Each week will have reflection questions and exercises to keep the group engaged. And it is for a group. A basic premise is that from week to week different members of the group will facilitate the meeting. You will not sit back to listen to someone lecture or read for the entire session. But, there is enough support throughout the book, that this will not be a burden on any member.

Over the course of the several weeks the group will look to the life of Jesus to call attention to six areas of our lives, (1) devotion to God, (2) virtue in thought, word and action, (3) empowerment by the Spirit, (4) Compassion toward all people, (5) proclamation of the good news of the gospel, (6) harmony between faith and work.

Oh, did I mention “homework.” There will be exercises the members select to do between the meetings.

There it is in a nutshell. A lifelong work. It begins with details for these several weeks and then leads the group members to see how they might go on in the intentional work of spiritual formation.

Do you see a time and place you might want to “try on” this workbook?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}


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