Before I met my wife, I participated in a singles Sunday school class at the North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. One morning, a young man, a student of Georgia Tech, asked if he could speak to the class. He shared, “Several years ago I said I believed in Jesus Christ and trust Him as my Savior. I was then baptized in this church. Yet, I did nothing with my faith so my faith did nothing for me.”
Fortunately, that was not the end of the story. He shared that it was now his intention to change; to take his faith seriously. He asked the pastor to help him chart a path for intentional progress in the Christian faith. Part of that path was accountability. That is where the singles Sunday school class came into the conversation. This young man was asking us, fellow class members, to walk with him and encourage him as he sought to be changedby his faith. Changed – a powerful word. Formationis another word that means the same thing. As people who say that Jesus Christ is Lord, we are people who seek to be “changed” or “formed” increasingly into a person who acts like Christ, speaks like Christ and thinks like Christ.
Five times a year I reprint in our monthly newsmagazine, The Spire, a basic approach to growing in Jesus Christ. This approach is summarized by four important words: Practices, Solitude, Community, and Sharing. It is a pathway or means that, if followed, will result in our own change or formation to look more and more like Jesus. Simply, that is what is meant by the terms Spiritual Formation or Christian Formation. Take the journey and when you need your faith the most it will be there to strengthen you.