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.
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 groups of 5-6 Christians meet each week in the very early morning or at mid-day for 1.5 hours to discuss their response to the particular inner life theme they have been reading and thinking about for the past week. Privately, in their own personal quiet time, each person carefully reads through and reflects upon a 52-week anthology that Bob Chisholm has compiled.
Each week is devoted to a different inner life theme and includes readings from a wide variety of writers, plus scriptures, prayers and hymns. And then collectively, they gather to discuss their thoughts and questions. These groups begin each year in February and remain committed to each other for the next twelve months. More than 200 Prestoncrest members have completed this Spiritual Journey.Several have repeated it multiple times.
Glen Eyrie Retreats
Upon completion of A Spiritual Journey Bob takes groups for a weekend of solitude and community at Glen Eyrie, just west of Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains. It is a time of joyful fellowship and quiet retreat inspired by God’s amazing creation.
Rhythms of the Inner Life
A 13-week Sunday morning class offering taught by alumni of the Spiritual Journey experience. The topics are:
God Knows Where You’re Going.
Meet God Inside Your Own Heart.
Begin Your Prayer in Astonishment.
Seek God First. He Will Provide The Rest.
Rediscover Silence and Solitude.
Bring Your Needs to the Father.
Meditate. Ponder. Contemplate. Think.
Continue to Search for God’s Truth.
Discover the Power of Journaling.
Open Your Heart to God’s Guidance.
Look for Places to Pause and Pray.
Prayer Is Not Just About You Talking.
Return Again and Again to God’s Word.
Giving God the Space to Act.
Step By Step Group
This small group study follows a published 90-day study guide written by Bob Chisholm that moves through the story of Jesus using the Gospel of Mark. It shows us a life of obedient struggle (Jesus) that is constantly relying on God. It combines individual daily quiet time with a weekly evening small group. The recommended size is 10 to 15 people. The study guide contains the NIV text of Mark and can be ordered through 21st Century Christian Publishers.
Spiritual Formation Resources
Study guides, devotional resources and other spiritual formation materials are constantly being produced. Some are available in digital form at The Shape of Faith, others are available in printed form (see Bob Chisholm).
Inner Life Discovery
Bob is available to lead this quarterly study of spiritual disciplines for any of our small groups. It combines individual daily reflection with a weekly evening small group discussion. Daily study materials are provided.
The Shape of Faith
This Sunday morning discussion class, taught by Bob Chisholm, uses the UpReach, InReach, OutReach trilogy to investigate how spiritual formation provides the direction and guidance needed for the chosen vision of the Prestoncrest church of Christ — Passion for God / Compassion for People. See The Shape of Faith website.
Seeking His Presence Quiet Time
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.
Seeking His Presence Devotionals
This resource is for those who seek to establish a weekly evening of quiet in their home. It is a collection of inner life devotionals that consist of a text with questions for personal reflection or discussion, a quotation relevant to the weekly theme from an inner life writer, and a prayer that follows the same theme. Each devotional is a single sheet that can be printed and carried in your Bible.
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 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.