Spiritual formation is a process that involves genuine change in a person’s knowledge of and relationship with Christ. The process is ongoing and the goal is that each person positively influences others along the way. Small group ministries are often the strategy for spiritual formation in the church. Small group point people don’t want to create an environment based on survival, they want to create an environment based on thriving! Here are four steps to create a thriving environment for spiritual formation:
#1. Keep it God Centered
God desires His people to grow deeper. The environment must be God-centered. God desires to be in community with His people, and our environment will thrive when people focus on an ongoing connection with God and growth in knowledge of His will. A thriving environment will begin with learning about God, from the basics to the more challenging subjects.
#2. Understand the Culture
What does the existing culture look like? Cultures can change, sometimes rapidly, but assume that it won’t. Spiritual formation requires a learning environment that the existing culture understands and can embrace. For the environment to thrive, point people should take risk, challenge yourselves and others, but recognize the boundaries that the culture creates. Change is more successful when a change management plan is in place.
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#3. Create Community
Why do point people work so hard to get people connected? Because the environment will not thrive in isolation. God created people to grow, and people grow in their community. If the community doesn’t create healthy growth, people won’t grow in a healthy way. People desire to belong, create something that people want to belong too. An isolated environment is dangerous and lonely, community is vital to spiritual formation!
#4. Teach Influence
All disciples are commissioned to influence. When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He had a genuine connection with His disciples, He was their teacher, their encourager, and when His earthly ministry was complete, He challenged them to influence in the same way. Jesus provided a blueprint of influence. He gave that blueprint to His disciples, and instructed them to launch His church. His commission was not about influencing others through division, but by influencing others within genuine relationships.
Published by Michael Grayston
Michael lives in Palm Bay, Florida with his wife and two kids. He serves CenterPointe church as the Next Steps Pastor and is pursuing his Ed.D. in Christian Leadership at Liberty University. Prior to full-time ministry, Michael worked in healthcare leadership for over 10 years.