Invitation to a Journey

I am at the beginning of a new journey. While this might surprise you (or perhaps not), finding regular, consistent quiet time to sit at the feet of Jesus and study his word and to pray is something I have often struggled with. I would suspect that I am not alone in this struggle and that perhaps you might also identify with it. If so, then I would like to invite you to begin a new journey, too.
I recently joined a formal spiritual formation group for the very first time. Our group of pastors is directed by a trained spiritual director who trains spiritual directors. I have to admit, beginning this process is humbling and a bit intimidating, but I have already grown and learned so much that I am excited for where this journey will take me and my companions as we encourage one another in our journey together in the months ahead.
Our group has begun reading Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation by Robert Mulholland and Ruth Haley Barton. I would commend this book to you as you begin your own journey. I was struck by the authors’ definition of spiritual formation: “a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.” Lets take a look at this definition part by part.
First, spiritual formation is a process and it is lifelong: from the moment we are born until the day we die, we are in the process of being formed. And how are we being formed? If God is doing the forming, then the answer is into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). I needed this reminder: that spiritual formation is God’s work, not mine. The best I can do is make myself and my life available for God to do his work in me.
The last part of the definition is what really struck me: “for the sake of others.” I have often felt that the pursuit of spiritual formation can become self-focused and devolve into a self-improvement campaign with the goal of becoming the best version of one’s self. But this definition reminds us that being formed into the image of Christ, by its very nature, is for the sake of others. Just as Jesus laid down his life for the sake of sinners, each person formed in his image will live more and more each day for others over self.
Wherever you may be on your spiritual journey, I would like to invite you to take a new step. Find some siblings in Christ and form a group for accountability and encouragement as you intentionally make yourself available to God for his kingdom-building activity in and through you for the sake of others.
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for LCMC Texas District and Program Director of Harvest Workers, an online ministry training program (learn more at Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 or