Spiritual Formation


It’s a process.  It’s a commitment. It’s an attitude.  Transformation takes time and willingness. We will use the Six Growth Areas to assist us in the journey of transformation.







With these Six Growth Areas, we will focus on the process of transformation that should be occurring in our lives along The Way!  “Transformation” refers to a change in character, condition or appearance. It’s what happens when we commit to following The Jesus Way. As II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” Romans 12:2 tells us to, “let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Christianity is a life-long process of becoming more like Jesus. This transformation occurs in our hearts, minds, attitudes and relationships as the Spirit of God takes greater control of who we are.

We talk a lot around here about following The Jesus Way. And we should. In fact, our mission statement is Glorifying God by Following The Jesus Way.  We will learn about what it means to be transformed in our spiritual journey. We will also challenge ourselves to be spiritually formed. By focusing on these growth areas, we hope to be transformed by the power of the Gospel in our daily lives.

We encourage you to take some time and look at the resources included on each of the Growth Area’s pages.  Feel free to come back to these pages at a later date to dig deeper into each Growth Area.

Other Resources to help you be Spiritually Transformed:

Daily Bible Readings

We cannot mature as followers of Jesus unless we grasp biblical truths and glean spiritual insights. We just have to deepen our understanding of the basic teachings of Christianity. This requires both reading and studying Scripture. There is no replacement for time spent in God’s Word.

If we are going to grow as followers of Jesus, we simply must ingest and digest spiritual truth. In his letter to the Ephesians, St. Paul stressed the importance of growth and maturity in the life of each believer Ephesians 4:7-16.

We live in a day of shallow thinking and superficial reason. While daily talk-shows blare in the background and internet search engines offer nanosecond responses to our questions, deep-thinking has almost disappeared from the planet! Deep, mature thought, from a spiritual perspective, can only occur when our minds are being transformed by the power of God’s Spirit. The process of transformation includes a journey of enlightenment. Our minds have to be enlightened by truth.

This growth area provides a broad, sweeping, panoramic view of the story of the Bible—or, The Big Story.  It addresses crucial components to grasping The Big Story using a narrative approach.

A solid overview of the biblical message is an asset to any believer’s arsenal in developing a true Christian worldview. Our prayer is that God will use this narrative approach to cast a wide net across our congregation as we continue to . . . Glorify God by Following The Jesus Way!

LEARN Resources

Who is Our God?
What has God Done?
Who is Mankind?
What has Mankind Done?
How did God Respond?
What now for Mankind?
Where will it all end?

Practical Application for LEARN

The Church Challenge from Dr. Wiles is to become so familiar with The Big Story that I can relate it accurately in my own words.

  • When you think of this challenge, your first reaction is:
  • Will this challenge be easy or hard for you? Why or why not?
  • The main principle(s) I want to work on in LEARN is:
  • In order to make my principle(s) a reality, my practice will be:

Obedience is a discipline. Jesus linked it with discipleship in the Great Commission, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” Matthew 28:18-20. Obedience is one indicator that assists us in measuring our spiritual growth.

As we focus on obedience, we observe the humility and discipline of Jesus Christ as He embraces His role in the great plan of redemption. His willingness to be obedient to the Father’s will is stunning and inspiring. He is our example in obedience.

Our focus on this particular growth area offers each one of us an opportunity to evaluate our “obedience attitude.” What does that mean? By “obedience attitude” – we are referring to your natural inclination. Are you more naturally compliant or resistant?

Further, in the spiritual realm, we need to evaluate our actions as well as our intentions. Often, obedience is something we do or don’t do. Our feelings about it may vary. Hopefully, as we mature, our attitude will improve and our willingness to be obedient will become more the norm rather than the exception.

Somebody once said, “You can’t build a reputation by good intentions.” That is true. Intentions are important – but, actions speak louder than . . . intentions. When you sense the prompting of God, how do you respond? Do you often argue or plead your case with Him? Do you resist His direction?

A goal during our focus on obedience should be to develop a submissive will toward God. We also should see the fruit of obedience growing out of submission and humility.

Jesus spent time in sincere, serious dialogue with God about the cross. He prayed fervently—particularly on the final night of His earthly life. He shared His desire with God. However, He concluded with, “Not my will but your will be done.” Humility. Submission. Obedience. May the example of Jesus serve as an inspiration for those of us who follow Him.

OBEY Resources

Obedience is an Act of Faith
Obedience Requires Humility
Obedience is a Discipline
Obedience is Costly
Obedience is Its Own Reward
Obedience Will be Tested
Obedience is Everyday
Obedience Can Be a Lonely Enterprise

Practical Application for OBEY

The Church Challenge from Dr. Wiles is to address an area in my life where I consistently remain disobedient to God. I will attempt to submit my will to God’s will in this particular area. (1 John 2:3)

  • When you think of this challenge, your first reaction is:
  • Will this challenge be easy or hard for you? Why or why not?
  • The main principle(s) I want to work on in OBEY is:
  • In order to make my principle(s) a reality, my practice will be:

Buried in the Old Testament is an obscure story about four lepers. Israel was in the midst of a terrible famine that had resulted in at least one example of cannibalism. The King of Israel was distraught and blamed the prophet Elisha for the malaise of the people. Additionally, the Arameans had besieged Samaria and set up camp with hopes to destroy Israel. It was a desperate time.

In an interesting turn of events, God dispersed the Aramean army by miraculous intervention. Aramean warriors fled and left behind all of their food, animals and other supplies. Meanwhile, these four lepers had decided to throw themselves at the mercy of the Aramean army. They reasoned that perhaps these soldiers would pity them and at least feed them. When they arrived at the army camp, they were amazed to discover all of the soldiers had departed and left everything behind. The lepers began to eat their fill and plunder the goods that remained behind. In a moment of insight, they said to each other, “We’re not doing right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves” 2 Kings 6-7.

We are living in a “day of good news.” The Gospel of Jesus is good news! It is the greatest news ever! It is intended to be shared. As followers of Jesus, we must commit ourselves to sharing the news about Him with others. This needs to be done on a personal level and on a grand scale. In other words, we need to address both evangelism and missions in our own personal journey with Jesus.

Jesus commissioned His followers to share His story with all the peoples of the world. We are to make disciples of all the nations. We are to be His witnesses to the uttermost parts of the earth. As the Father sent Jesus, He sends us out into the world. The mandate for missions was not drafted by a group of preachers and voted on at a Baptist convention meeting. The mandate for missions is rooted in the heart of God. We serve a missionary God. He is a seeking God. He came looking for us.

We also must share this good news with the people in our own community, neighborhood, work-place, family, etc. The message of Christ is one to be given away to others!  You are an important piece in this puzzle! God wants to use you to partner with Him in accomplishing the Grand Plan of Redemption!

SHARE Resources

The Gospel: Facing the Challenges
The Gospel Message: Centered on Jesus
The Gospel of Conversation
The Miraculous Power of the Gospel
The Universal Scope of the Gospel
The Gospel in and through the Church
The Gospel in Personal Relationships Part 1
The Gospel in Personal Relationships Part 2

Practical Application for SHARE

The Church Challenge from Dr. Wiles is to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with at least one person during this 8 week journey. I will also expand my personal commitment to missions in a tangible way.

  • When you think of this challenge, your first reaction is:
  • Will this challenge be easy or hard for you? Why or why not:
  • The main principle(s) I want to work on in SHARE is:
  • In order to make my principle(s) a reality, my practice will be:

On the very first page of our Bibles, we read that God created human beings in His image. This incredible act has challenged students of His Word for generations. What does it mean to be created “in the image of God”?

Scholars have devoted years of study and reams of academic writings trying to explain it. Preachers have preached countless sermons to address it. But, the image of God has proven to be a bit elusive in our attempts to arrive at a full understanding of its meaning.

Perhaps it may be helpful to embrace the idea that the human beings have been created to live in community with one another. This truth is connected to the image of God in all of us. God exists in perfect community as Father, Son and Spirit. Since we are created in His image, we also are to live in community – in relationship with others.

The testimony of Scripture seems to bear this out. God has not designed human beings to live in isolation. There may be a temporary calling on occasion to solitude. But, on the whole, God has uniquely designed us to live together in relationships.

Relationships add texture to our lives. Relationships enrich us and bless us. As followers of Jesus, we are to be vitally linked to other believers in significant spiritual relationships. One aspect of spiritual connectedness is our need for accountability. As the saying goes, iron sharpens iron. Your life should be so deeply connected to some other Christian believers that you challenge each other to be more responsible followers of Jesus.

In other words, we need each other. We need to be connected to one another in healthy, meaningful relationships. Your journey with Jesus needs to include significant connections with others who are on the same journey. These are the people who will encourage you, minister to you, befriend you, challenge you and love you. There is no substitute for these vital relationships in the lives of believers.

The church is the body of Christ. Here is where these meaningful relationships take on purpose. God connects us to just the right people at just the right time in just the right place so that His purposes can be served. You are to discover your place in the body and serve alongside others in the context of loving, healthy relationships.

LOVE Resources

The Foundation of Human Relationships
The Wedding Invitation List
Dis-ease in Human Relationships
Following a Leader
Serve Your Friends
Love Your Friends
Forgive Your Friends
Grow Spiritually with Your Friends

Practical Application for LOVE

The Church Challenge from Dr. Wiles is I will evaluate my significant relationships. I will ask God to reveal how I can be used by Him to deepen these relationships and to make them as healthy as possible.

  • When you think of this challenge, your first reaction is:
  • Will this challenge be easy or hard for you? Why or why not:
  • The main principle(s) I want to work on in LOVE is:
  • In order to make my principle(s) a reality, my practice will be:

Throughout the New Testament, followers of Jesus are challenged to keep striving toward maturity. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul expressed the hope that we would all “reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”Ephesians 4:13.

Jesus compared entry into the Kingdom of God to birth John 3:3. In other words, we enter the family of God as babies. The expectation is that we will continue to grow and develop spiritually just as we expect children to grow physically. However, there are impediments that can hinder the process of spiritual growth in the life of any new believer. In fact, all believers have to deal with road-blocks to growth.

At the core of our struggle is our penchant for selfishness. Our selfish attitudes and behaviors grow out of a sinful nature that is in rebellion toward God. We all struggle with selfish impulses and desires. If we are unable to reign these in, our lives will be characterized by spiritual immaturity and a general lack of trust in our Creator.

One of the signs of spiritual development is a growing selflessness. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we learn to deny these selfish tendencies that lead us to self-reliance and ego-centric behavior. We can learn to combat these selfish impulses and live a life characterized by service and stewardship.

This journey in the growth area of trust is to help you grow in your ability to trust God with your life. We need to address the challenges of selfishness and seek to develop a basic, core trust in God. One of the evidences of this trust can be seen in how we handle our money and our material goods. God has called us to be good stewards of all entrusted to us. We are not owners – just stewards.

It goes beyond our money. Of course it does. Serving others is also one way that we express our trust in God. We choose not to expend all of our energy in caring for ourselves and providing for our own needs – because we trust that God will provide for us!

TRUST Resources 

Answering the Door
Trusting God’s Heart
Walking in God’s Path
Trusting God’s Provision
Stewarding God’s Provision
Joining God’s Plans
Following God’s Rules
Giving to God’s Work

Practical Applications for TRUST

The Church Challenge from Dr. Wiles is I will engage in true acts of service each day for 8 weeks. I will also demonstrate my trust in God’s provision by tithing for 8 weeks.

  • When you think of this challenge, your first reaction is:
  • Will this challenge be easy or hard for you? Why or why not?
  • The main principle(s) I want to work on in TRUST is:
  • In order to make my principle(s) a reality, my practice will be:

Worship is a universal practice in the human family. People worship! They can’t help it. Archaeologists have unearthed altars revealing the pervasive practice of worship across time. Ancient writings disclose the propensity of people to attempt to understand the universe through the lens of religion.

The God of the Bible is a God who desires to be worshiped. In fact, our God claims to be the only true God. He is revealed in the pages of the Bible as the God who has created all that exists. He is the God who has placed humanity on the earth as an express statement of His will.

He is a God who has expressed a desire to live in relationship with His people. God wants His people to know Him, serve Him and love Him. Creation is a reflection of the glory of its Creator. However, God has not called His people to simply admire His creative activity! Certainly, He is not pleased when humans choose to worship His creation!

In a conversation with a Samaritan woman, Jesus has given us great insight into the heart of God. He told her that God is looking for people to worship Him John 4:23. God desires to be known, loved and worshiped by His people.

God’s people should serve Him. That is true. God also wants us to seek Him in response to His love for us. It is a true privilege to worship God. He has invited us to experience Him in our personal lives. We can have a daily walk with Him. We can worship Him as His children. What an incredible opportunity! The God of the universe has invited us into His presence! We are welcome!

Worship is both a personal and a corporate experience. We are to worship God in our daily lives as followers of Jesus. Our life before Him is a personal journey. Each day, we decide to offer ourselves to Him and seek his voice in our lives. Also, we are to come together as His people to worship Him in community. We join our hearts and lives with our church family in worshiping our God together.

Often, worship becomes a flash point in churches. It can be a point of controversy and disagreement. That certainly does not please God. He wants us to live in harmony with Him and with each other – particularly as we worship together. To God be the glory!

WORSHIP Resources

Worship is for Everyone
Tell the Nations
Clean Hands and Pure Hearts
Holy, Holy, Holy!
Humble Consideration
Cross of Love
Name Above Every Name

Practical Application for WORSHIP

The Church Challenge from Dr. Wiles is I will worship God with an open mind and an open heart.  I will set aside my personal tastes and preferences.  I will listen for his voice in my life.  I will respond to His invitation and join Him in His work.

  • When you think of this challenge, your first reaction is:
  • Will this challenge be easy or hard for you? Why or why not?
  • The main principle(s) I want to work on in WORSHIP is:
  • In order to make my principle(s) a reality, my practice will be: