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Resiliency, Reconciliation Revolve around Spiritual Formation

Is it possible to deviate from the person and work of Jesus (Reconciler and reconciliation) while being about people experiencing wholeness (restoration of relationships) rooted in that Person (true resiliency)?

For years, there have been faithful champions of our work with the Resilient Communities Center, engaging in our ministry through prayer and financial support. We have sought to steward these partners through regular communication much like this one, helping them gain a picture of what we are doing in online and local communities. A recent conversation with a partner highlighted how important it is for us to communicate what propels our work forward: our relationship and walk with God.

This supporter asked,

Why did your last newsletter not have any mention of Jesus or a Bible verse in it?

I was thrown off by the question, so I asked the partner to expand.

She said,

I know the heart of your ministry is rooted in Jesus, but why did your communication not portray that explicitly? Are you deviating from the original purpose as a ministry?

These questions surprised me, I have to admit. However, I deeply appreciate them. This partner's question reflects a framework that is both simple yet counter to some ways we can view ministry.

Our pursuit of relational reconciliation and resiliency is both spiritual formation and transformational development, made possible in Jesus.

Jesus' redemptive work is foundational to everything we do at the Resilient Communities Center. This not only includes coaching and mentoring leaders and communities but also our relationship with each other as team members. Jesus' redemptive work is a call to healing and wholeness in all areas of life. In our ministry, we seek shalom, or well-being, in relationships with God, ourselves, others, and creation.

The Great Spirit (God) was not holding people’s broken ways against them. Instead, he was working in the Chosen One (Jesus) to bring all people back into harmony with himself. He has now given us the honor of bringing this message to others.

2 Corinthians 5:19, First Nations Version

We are called to step into the ministry of reconciliation through our work with the Resilient Communities Center. We also know that God is actively working among the leaders and communities we engage with. The invitation to step into reconciliatory work is available to all.

In all our activities (coaching and mentoring) and in how we relate to others, we are saturated in the beautiful message of Christ’s redeeming work. It’s so present in all our interactions that perhaps we have assumed it’s obvious. Perhaps, we thought our partners knew this without us having to say it explicitly.

Spiritual Formation

So, what does it look like for the Resilient Communities Center to be fixed in God’s good plan for humanity and the world? How is our work of coaching leaders and communities related to our belief in Jesus as a Redeemer and Reconciler of all? The best way to explain that is to understand our key principle of Spiritual Formation:

Spiritual Formation is the ongoing formational growth of the messenger, which is a prerequisite for the transformation of communities.

Foundational to everything we do in ministry is who we are as authentic messengers of the gospel. In other words, we are ministers of reconciliation who are transformed by the gospel of reconciliation. Being effective ministers for community transformation flows from continually growing closer to becoming like Jesus in who we are and what we do. Authentic messengers pay just as much attention to character development and growth as to accomplishments and competencies. Spiritual formation is a life-long process of being transformed from the inside out in ever-expanding relational reconciliation.

Robert Mulholland, in Invitation to a Journey, says that spiritual formation is

the process of being formed into the image of Christ for the sake of others.

When our transformation precedes the transformation of those with whom we work and labor, we are being authentic in our ministry. Personal, ongoing formation, leading to transformation, is integral for community or corporate transformation. 

In our blog on resiliency, we introduced the Resiliency Wheel. This model is taken from the decades-long work of our Discipling for Development colleagues in Uganda. Each spoke of the wheel guides how we engage through the practices of discipleship and development as a team and in communities.

A wheel depicting the interactions of principles to foster resiliency: discipleship, development, spiritual formation, community, transformation, integration, incarnation, transformation, and empowerment.

Notice that Spiritual Formation is in the center of the wheel. The position of this principle is intentional. It is the hub of the wheel, from which all other principles are anchored. All of the principles are linked together: spiritual formation is the principle from which all other principles flow toward resiliency and reconciliation. 

What does spiritual formation look like in your life and work?
How is your relationship with God connected to the other relationships in your life?

If you are wondering how spiritual formation is interwoven with empowerment, transformation, integration, incarnation, and community, consider joining our Practiced Principles training module. In that module, you will explore each feature of the Resiliency Wheel and how to incorporate them in all areas of your life.

Continue to follow our blog as we unpack all the other principles on the Resiliency Wheel in the weeks to come!

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