Closing the Gap Between Spiritual Formation and
The name Formissional represents an emphasis on both spiritual formation and an intentional lifestyle of missional practices to help others experience the love of God. The outflow of being with God should find expression both in our spiritual growth toward Christlikeness as well as in sharing our love for him with others in word and deed. This balance is difficult to maintain but is critical for the sake of our God-given mission and purpose.
The reality is, however, that there is often a gap between the two. Our discipleship ministries and teaching have not brought together spiritual transformation and believers' daily calling to live as sent ones in the way Christ intended. And in today's Christian circles, believers lean much more heavily into their own spiritual growth without intentionally impacting the lives of others.
A professor of Christian formation once said to me that if people grow in their love for God and mature in their faith, they will naturally share their life in Christ with others. But I have rarely seen this happen. Many believers have been in church for years, taking in all the teaching offered through a variety of ministries, including the command to bear witness of his redemptive love, yet fail to live with an intentional missional lifestyle so that others can see Christ in them.
Without a vibrant relationship with God through Christ, we have nothing to share that is distinct and no impetus to offer what we have to others. But our life with God must naturally flow outward. Without a missional component in our personal lives we fail to live out God’s desires for us and to fulfill the mission of Christ. In addition, the danger is that our growth will become self-centered and imbalanced. This is not biblical discipleship. As the late Robert Mulholland wrote, “Spiritual formation is the process of being conformed into the likeness of Christ for the sake of others.”
"Spiritual formation is the process of being conformed into the likeness of Christ for the sake of others."
Dr. Robert Mulholland
"An Invitation to a Journey"
"We are spiritually formed by and in the love of God in Christ. Evangelism is the fruit and the root of our formation. To give the grace we have been given is not only evidence of our transformation; it is itself transforming"
Michelle D. Jones
Pastor and writer serving at Imago Dei Community Church in Portland, Oregon.
Through the Billy Graham Center I am leading monthly cohorts of senior pastors where we learn together how to make outreach organic and sustainable in our personal lives and the life of the church.
I am personally leading and training men in formissional small groups by modeling an agenda which weds these principles. Each meeting we check-in with one another regarding how are we being with God and how we are being led to bless others and engage in spiritual conversations.
Through webinars, online video calls, and coaching, I am working with churches to implement curriculum produced by Q Place which models the practices of Jesus in his interaction with others. These simple "arts" can become habits of believers' missional lifestyles when a rhythm of monthly accountability is established in the church.
I am an ordained minister with the Christian & Missionary Alliance. My wife, Beth, and I served as church planting missionaries in the Philippines for 20 years. I then served on staff at churches in Wheaton, IL and Foxboro, MA in roles overseeing discipleship, small group and outreach ministries. I began my work with Q Place in 2016 as the Chicago Catalyst Leader and joined the cohort initiative at the Billy Graham Center in 2018. I am passionate about investing my ministry experience and spiritual gifts in the lives of others.