Spiritual Formation Under the Jesus Creed
A great confusion exists today that undermines the notion of spiritual formation for individuals and churches and often makes the process of spiritual growth disjointed and dysfunctional. While we must face this confusion head on as pastors and spiritual leaders, the task before us is nothing new. When Jesus walked the earth some two millennia ago he faced a similarly disjointed and dysfunctional spiritual environment, filled with just as many distractions and competing loyalties and just as much evil and sin as we have today. Yet through his own life example, compelling teachings and personal sacrifice on the cross, Jesus provided the ultimate answer to all of life's questions: temporal and eternal, public and private, personal and corporate, physical and spiritual. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life ..."1 Jesus called all people to surrender their lives to him, living under his lordship and patterning their lives after his life, by the power of the Holy Spirit. The central focus and standard for this life under the lordship of Jesus is the Jesus Creed, otherwise known as the Great Commandment. The Jesus Creed was, is and will always be the basis for spiritual formation under the lordship of Jesus.
This professional project seeks to examine the great confusion over the critical issue of spiritual formation as it exists today in our contemporary context. It also seeks to center our answer and response around the Jesus Creed. How can and should we come to maturity in Christ and what role should the local church play in that process? A model was developed to serve a specific local church context, Parkgate Community Church in Pasadena, TX, following an analysis of the great confusion problem from both a macro and a micro level, a thorough examination of the relevant Scriptures, the wisdom of classic and current Christian literature as well as survey and interview research by the author. In so doing, there should be further clarity for pastors, spiritual leaders and individual followers of Jesus as they consider the subject of spiritual formation.
1Jn. 14:6. (NIV)