Bethlehem United Methodist Church
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Growing as Christians... Reaching Out to Others
Spiritual Formation is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ by the inward working of the Holy Spirit for the sake of others.
The Spiritual Formation Ministry is concerned with any activity which helps us grow as Christians. The work of allowing Christ to live out in our lives is ongoing and is at the root of everything we do as members of Christ's Body, the Church.
Spiritual Formation Ministry seeks to promote and to assist with the development and provision of activities, groups, and studies that help us all experience God more deeply; help us surrender more fully to God in our lives. We recognize that any activity that flows out of an awareness of God as the motivating, empowering force at its center is formational.
John Wesley, founder of Methodism, believed that the Christian life is a constant process of moving on toward perfection and that there are specific things we can do to help that process along. Spiritual Formation Ministries express their particular calling through the practices Wesley called the "means of grace." These are prayer, reading of scripture, "Christian conferencing," frequent partaking of the Holy Communion, and worship. He believed strongly that all Christians are called to work for justice, mercy and peace the world.
These classical spiritual disciplines are handed down to us from the earliest days of the forming Christian Church and are foundational in all traditions. They include such things as prayer and meditation and the Daily Office, sacred reading of the scriptures and other spiritual material, fasting (in various forms), the regular examination of conscience and accountability, especially among small groups of like-minded Christians who meet regularly to share their struggles and their triumphs , and who encourage and support one another in that growth process, and worship and service together as a body.
Our goal as a ministry is to help you and to empower you through the offering of instruction and help with the disciplines God is calling you to practice: to help you learn more about them, to assist you in any way--through groups or classes or even individual partnering to become more intentional about spiritual growth. We hope to offer a variety of experiences outside of regular worship that help us listen more actively, to feel more deeply, to become more acutely aware of God's abiding presence in our lives -- which will in turn empower us through the Holy Spirit to that life of service.
Spiritual Formation Ministries invites you to listen and pray for God's guidance toward any activity that will help individuals grow in Christian discipleship. We want to help you live out your own ministry of faith through Many avenues. We will pray with you as you seek to discern what God is calling you to do.