Thursday, October 21, 2010

School of Spiritual Formation and Care of the Soul

Have you ever picked up the phone and called one of your favorite authors? One day in August Jennifer did just that. After reading the book Soul Custody by Stephen W. Smith she decided to call him up and tell him what an impact the book made on her life. We met Steve in Colorado back in 2008 when he shared with our group at Mission Training International. In August of this year Jennifer left a message on Steve's office answering machine thinking she wouldn't hear anything back. A few days later, much to her surprise, Steve returned her call. He mentioned that he thought it would be beneficial for us to attend a school that he had started called the School of Spiritual Formation and Care of the Soul. They hold it twice a year. Steve and Gwen have a ministry called Potter's Inn outside of Colorado Springs, CO and we decided to sign up for their newsletter. Several weeks later we saw that there were two spots left for the October school and we quickly made the decision that we would attend. It was the right decision.

Our five days in the school were full and challenging as we explored themes on spiritual transformation, Christlike rhythms in our lives, and God's love. There were about 15 students from all sorts of backgrounds and denominations, including other missionaries and two benedictine nuns. We had the priveledge of learning, crying, and praying together all week. Of course we did some laughing too.

One of the challenges set before us was to have more solitude in our lives. In solitude we can hear the voice of God. We were encouraged to spend time in nature and "let the birds be our theologians." Often times we are too caught up in our busyness to be still and know God, too occupied by noise to stop and hear his voice, or we are stuck in a pattern of life that brings death instead of life to our souls. Sound familiar? In ministry, where the burnout rate for pastors and missionaries is 75%, it can be tempting to be so concerned about the doing we forget what life is all about. If we do not truly know God, how can we minister? What is our source? We can be busy "doing" things for God, but if we don't stop to spend time with him we will not be able to transmit his love. If our desire is spiritual transformation we need healthy lifestyle rhythms! Good stuff!

Our desire is to implement what we learned, and in doing so help those to whom we minister.

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