By Rev. Toni G. Boehm, Ph.D., USCR Ministry Consultant —
How do we support our spiritual community in growing and progressing in spiritual and emotional maturity? How do we, as spiritual leaders, support the community in moving forward on a path toward conscious spiritual transformation?
1. Help those in your spiritual community assess where they are on the spiritual journey toward spiritual and emotional maturity.
Before you can move forward, it is often necessary to determine where you are and the same goes for supporting people in their development toward spiritual maturity. In UWM Board Training I, there is a simple assessment that supports an individual in assessing where they might be in their spiritual and emotional growth.
Practical Application: U.W.M. board training Level 1 has a Spiritual and Emotional Maturity assessment that supports the process of self-discovery.
2. Discern your context – know your culture.
Before you can develop a plan for your spiritual community, you must understand your spiritual community is a unique expression of the culture that lives them, often unconsciously. Culture can be identified, and once you identify and understand the unique traits hidden in the ministry’s culture, you can develop and implement a spiritual and emotional maturity growth model that is specific and unique to your congregation.
Practical Application: U.W.M. board training Level 3 has a Culture assessment that supports the discovery of cultural influences.
Time spent in classes with others on a spiritual quest is a necessity for spiritual growth, and so is time alone. Transformational living comes from both practical application in the experiences of life and in spending time alone in the presence of the Presence.
Practical Application: Create a daily spiritual practice that consciously invites Spirit to sup at your table.
4. Undergird everything with prayer.
In transformational spiritual community research, it has been discovered that 73 percent of transformational spiritual communities (i.e., spiritual communities that are helping people become more spiritual and emotionally mature… agreed with the statement, “Seeing people praying together is a normal sight in our spiritual community.” Prayer is the link to receive understanding about ourselves and how we show up in our everyday experiences and then to move forward in conscious change and shift. .
Practical Application: Create a community spiritual practice that consciously invites Spirit to sup at the collective table. Be creative. This can be a drumming circle, a prayer experience, a chanting experience, Taize’, and more.
5. Be intentional.
Some leaders are passive in their approach to consciously creating spiritual transformation; they believe God is the one who transforms, and rightly so. But they wrongly assume zero responsibility for the maturation of those sitting in their pews. If your spiritual community doesn’t already have a plan for conscious spiritual and emotional maturity, get a plan together. Spiritual communities that are intentional with their process are intentional about moving deeper in a conscious transformational process and deeper into the mystery and teachings of Christ/I AM consciousness.
Practical Application: Spiritual and emotional maturity is the next step of conscious evolution. Contact your USCR Ministry Consultant for support in how to support the creation of a conscious and intentional spiritual and emotional growth process.
6. Be in it for the long haul.
Spiritual and emotional maturity that truly transforms takes time and can often be messy. In a world of texts and tweets, fast food and microwaves, we’ve grown accustomed to immediate gratification. When was the last time you chose the long way? Spiritual growth and transformation is never quick and concise. If we want to be engaged in transformational discipleship, we must accept the long road. All persons on the spiritual path need leaders who will walk alongside them and serve as models and guides on the path to spiritual maturity. As spiritual community leaders, we must guide those led to our spiritual communities and support them in unfolding the mission that they have been called to accomplish.
Practical Application: Develop a conscious and practical spiritual and emotional growth process and experience and communicate it!
Adapted from an article by Thom S. Rainer
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Toni G. Boehm, is your USCR Ministry Consultant. She can be contacted at 816-304-3044 or by email. USCR’s mission is to support your ministry and leadership education and training. All expenses, except the generous love offering for the experience, is paid by USCRegion.