A facet of Prestoncrest’s Reach Up philosophy is spiritual formation. Spiritual formation is not an event, a weekend retreat, an online course, a book or a class. It is a long-term process that moves through our entire lifetime. Learn more about spiritual formation below.
What is “Spiritual Formation?”
Spiritual formation takes place when we offer to God the deepest part of who we are – our heart, our soul, our mind, our strength, the part of us that will survive our death. We allow Him to form our spirit and change our life. Spiritual formation takes place both in solitude and in community and does not happen quickly, neatly or predictably.
Outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
– 2 Corinthians 4:16
Spiritual Formation at Prestoncrest
The spiritual formation ministry at Prestoncrest attempts to provide opportunities for renewal to begin. This spiritual transformation process is offered in the form of resources, events, groups and places that can begin to clean out the inner decay and provide a plan for spiritual formation habits to take hold. Below are some of the opportunities available.
These are very small groups of 5-6 Christians who meet weekly in the very early morning or at mid-day for 1.5 hours to discuss and share the inner life theme they have been reading and thinking about for the past week. Bob Chisholm leads the groups through a 52-week anthology of readings from a wide variety of writers, plus scriptures, prayers and hymns for 6 days of each week. These groups begin each year in February and remain committed to each other for the next twelve months.
Step By Step
This is a published 90-day study written (see study) by Bob Chisholm that moves through the story of Jesus using the Gospel of Mark. It shows us a life of struggle (Jesus) that is constantly relying on God. It combines daily quiet time with a weekly evening small group of 15.
Inner Life Discovery
This quarterly study of 13 spiritual disciplines combines individual daily reflection with a weekly evening small group discussion of 15.
A quarterly small group of 15 that reads three inner life books and then meets for a weekly evening discussion of what they have discovered in their reading.
Seeking His Presence
This is a quiet alternative during the Sunday morning class time. No teacher, no talking, only silence. Between first and second service the auditorium is devoted to a time of quiet meditation. The lights are dimmed, all are encouraged to “spread out” in this large space and everyone remains quiet. Some use the time to quietly sit and enjoy the beautiful images of God’s creation that are projected throughout the session. Others simply pray, journal, or read their Bibles.
A quarterly Sunday morning discussion class taught by Bob Chisholm that examines the direction spiritual formation gives to the vision of Prestoncrest.
Spiritual Formation Mobile Library
A growing collection of 120+ books on inner life topics that travel with Bob Chisholm as he teaches on Sunday morning. Class members are encouraged to check out books during the quarter that Bob is teaching their class.
Bread for the Journey
A year-long daily devotional written by our members.
Opening to God
Offsite weekend retreats for individuals and couples. An opportunity to turn it all off and spend some focused time walking, reading, thinking, writing and praying.
A comfortable, quiet place for our members to stop during their week day (during lunch, while on an errand) to sit and pray, read, journal and reflect on your day, your week, your life.
Daily Bible Reading
Prestoncrest is committed to helping in your spiritual walk as you Reach Up to God. One of the best ways we can grow closer to Him is to spend time daily in the Bible. Time in the word draws us near to God as we find out more about God and his will for our lives. We see Jesus and learn to be more like Him as we model His love and actions.
Walking with God
A six-month weekly devotional designed to help families establish a “family night.”
Spiritual Formation Blog
Join Bob Chisholm, our Small Group & Spiritual Formation Minister, as he explores what Spiritual Formation looks like and what a life spiritually transformed looks like.
Are you looking for something to aid you in your spiritual formation journey? Browse the list below of resources as gathered by Bob Chisholm. If you see something to add, please contact us and let us know what we’re missing.
Spiritual Formation FAQs
Have a question about Spiritual Formation? Check out the questions and answers below. If you still have more questions, feel free to contact Bob Chisholm.
What is Spiritual Formation and why does it matter?
In his book, Streams of Living Water, Richard Foster answers the question this way. “God gradually and slowly ‘captures’ the inner faculties: first the heart and the will, then the mind, the imagination, and the passions. The result is the transformation of the entire personality into the likeness of Christ.” Spiritual formation matters because when we make the decision to follow Jesus we have only begun a life-long process. We can give God our heart immediately, but our habits will come much slower as God gradually and deliberately shapes, molds and forms us into the image of Christ.
What is the role of the spiritual disciplines?
There is a stereotype of spiritual formation that sees it as a collection of tasks to be performed by the “super spiritual” person. This understanding can easily leave God out of the picture. And since, according to this view, we are essentially shaping our own lives through our own “self discipline,” we easily become arrogant and prideful, the opposite of the person God would form in us. The role of the spiritual disciplines is to help us place ourselves more fully into the hands of God. He is the only one who can bring the change that is needed in our lives as we allow his Holy Spirit to begin the lengthy and painful process of spiritual transformation.
How important is community in the Spiritual Formation process?
There is another stereotype within Spiritual Formation that pictures only the solitary, silent life of the recluse. I like the analogy of Adele Ahlberg Calhoun in, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, “God is not a bachelor who lives alone. He is a holy community of three. And we express his nature best when we are in a community committed to growing and being transformed into Christlikeness.” And so, Christian relationships are vital to the process of spiritual formation.
What is Prestoncrest doing?
The spiritual formation ministry at Prestoncrest is attempting to provide resources, events, groups and places that can help our members form a plan for spiritual formation habits to take hold.
Should groups be composed of only men or only women, or can they be mixed?
On one hand, we would be denying the “body” principles of 1 Corinthians 12 if we completely segregated our groups. As Paul wrote, no part of the body of Christ can say to another, “I don’t need you!” (Vs. 21) And so, some of our groups are mixed. But on the other hand, there are levels of disclosure and confession that must be protected by gender separation, and several groups provide that security.
What is the size of the Spiritual Journey Groups and how often should they meet?
We have kept the groups small (5-6 people) to ensure maximum participation and involvement. They meet once each week and remain committed to each other for one year.
What is the difference between the Spiritual Journey groups and the Inner Life Discovery groups?
The Spiritual Journey groups are gender segregated, small (5-6 people) and meet each week for one year, usually in the early morning before work. The Inner Life Discovery groups are mixed, a bit larger (12-15 people) and focus on the more classic Spiritual Disciplines for 14 weeks.
What happens in a Spiritual Journey group?
The journey is a process. This is why it takes a year. Each session includes shared intercessory prayer. We also share what we have highlighted in our anthology of readings, particularly what inspired us, intrigued us, puzzled us or even bothered us. We also share what we learned from the scripture selections for the week. Finally, we share our decision for growth, our first steps towards change and maturity.
What should I be reading in my Spiritual Formation experience?
It seems that Jesus spent his 40 days in the wilderness reading Deuteronomy. All of his responses to Satan’s temptations were quotes from chapters 6 through 8. And scripture is at the very center of any spiritual growth experience. In addition, prayers and hymns can help to give you fresh language for your other time in prayer. Even though your inner journey is a very personal matter, the experience of others can be a great help. And so, slowly and carefully reading the writings of spiritual writers, both ancient and modern can be a great help on our spiritual journey.
How much time does a Spiritual Journey group require?
In addition to the weekly meeting, an hour alone each day will go a long way towards recapturing the power of Sabbath. The readings for each week can be read in about 15 minutes... or it can be pondered for an hour each day, as we try to re-learn the art of meditating, slowing, pondering and reflecting.