Date of Award
Dr. David Wray
Dr. Jeff W. Childers
Dr. Brady Bryce
This project was designed to meet a need at the Austin Christian Church (ACC) for enhancing the spiritual formation of new converts to Christianity by providing clear direction for mentors seeking to disciple others into the image of Christ. The scope of this project is focused directly on taking the first steps toward a deliberate pathway for spiritual formation by establishing the foundational principles. The apostle Paul’s pastoral theology provides the theological rationale for the project. Theosis, the theologically rich description of the Christian transformative process, also informs the theological foundation for the project. Drawing on the work of Richard Foster and Urban Holmes, the project consults the rich history of Christian spiritual formation to guide a pathway that is balanced and honors important aspects of each spiritual tradition.
The intervention was conducted using a purposeful sample of members at ACC. The diverse development team was chosen from amongst the small group leaders at ACC to create a pathway for spiritual formation. The immediate objective of the project was to establish a short list of themes, or pillars, upon which a pathway for spiritual formation might be constructed. The intervention was intended to draw upon the experience of mature Christian leaders, allowing their lived experience to work in concert with biblical theology to outline steps in order to guide mentors in the process of maturing new Christians. The intervention yielded a list of seven pillars that after processing the data were reduced to four: 1) knowing the triune God, 2) understanding identity in Christ, 3) living in a community of faith, and 4) embracing mission. These four pillars will form the foundation of a clear pathway for spiritual formation that will include studies, exercises, and experiences intended to produce maturity in young Christians.
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Hooper, David, "Spiritual Transformation at Austin Christian Church" (2018). Doctor of Ministry Theses. 32.
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