One of our main goals, as youth leaders is to develop the spiritual maturity of our students (and ourselves). The reason we have Friday night youth group, lock-ins, mission trips, and Bible studies is to nurture the transformation process of our student’s spiritual journeys. Let’s take a closer look at a definition of Spiritual Formation and how it connects to our ministry to youth.
The goal of Spiritual Formation is to develop our spiritual maturity and guide us through a process of being transformed by God as we seek to connect our hearts with God’s heart.
…to develop our spiritual maturity…
A part of spiritual development is being able to create “sacred space” for our selves and our students so that we can be immersed in God’s presence. Sacred space is that space where we allow God to work. It’s a space we don’t often have with our students because we are busy with so many other things. But, think about what a gift it is to students when we stop talking and teach them to listen for what God has to say. I know that some of our students have the attention span of Cheetos, but we can do them a great disservice when we don’t teach them to listen in the silence, to the Word, and to each other. A very practical way to do this is through Lectio Divina (reading the scripture and repeating it). Or through listening small groups where students share in more intimate settings. When there is space for God to work, in these intimate and quite spaces, we are being developed and nurtured.
… and guide us through a process…
Spiritual Formation is our Divine GPS system getting us from “here to there” on our faith journey. I love that our spiritual development is not something that is random. The role of spiritual formation is to guide us in the process. As we are developing the spiritual lives of our students it is important to remember that we are not the end destination. We are a stop on a much longer journey. And, we must trust that God is working in the whole process and will give us what we need to help students get from where they are to another place, or to another stop on the journey as they move along.
…of transformed by God …
God is in the transforming business. There is a movement of the spirit that is working in, through, and around us. As we, and our students, are developing and moving along this journey God is doing something awesome inside and around and through us. Sometimes we are not even aware of it. Spiritual formation development allows God the open space to work on God’s masterpiece… us. We are a work in progress.
God never stops working on us. When one part seems to be moving along, God turns God’s attention to another part of our souls. In our ministries our prayer is that we are not the only ones invested in our students development. We trust that the process through the journey is met with, at each stop, each point with loving nurturing people to drop something into our students lives. It is up to generations of people who love God to continue to invest in the lives of our students and the pray is that as they are developed they will do the same for generations after them.
… as we seek to connect our hearts with God’s heart.
The reason for all of this is to connect our hearts, and our student’s hearts, to God’s heart! Just like we are all works in progress, we are also all on this continuous journey to know Christ more and to connect our hearts and thoughts and actions to what God is calling us to. Spiritual Formation is all about making that connection. Being “formed” to be like Christ. Being transFORMED in the renewing of our minds. We are always seeking God and seeking more intimacy with God.
Prayer: Dear God, I pray for leaders who are walking alongside students, everyday, on this spiritual journey to draw closer to You. I pray for your boldness and wisdom in their teaching, living, and nurturing. Amen.