Spiritual transformation is the process of Christ being formed in us – for the glory of God, for the abundance of our own lives, and for the sake of others. The promise that human beings can be transformed into the image of Christ is central to the message of the Gospel and therefore central to the mission of the Church. And yet many churches gather for many other reasons and have lost sight of the centrality of this aspect of the Gospel message.
The original vision and mission of the Transforming Center was to "call forth communities of spiritual transformation that discern and do the will of God." This seemed a little grandiose and we realized that such communities could only be cultivated by pastors and leaders who were on a journey of spiritual transformation themselves. Those who were in leadership of the Transforming Center at the time took a step back from this original mission so we could develop the two-year Transforming Community experience designed to strengthen the souls of leaders.
Over the years, the Transforming Community experience has proven effective in fostering deeper levels of transformation among pastors and leaders as they develop sustainable spiritual rhythms and bring their transforming selves to ministry. They affirm the truth "the best thing you bring to leadership is your transforming self!"
As we have continued to journey with and listen to our alumni, many have expressed a clear need to take a next step by developing a more intentional approach to spiritual formation in their congregational settings. In response, we have come full circle – back to the original vision of the Transforming Center – by launching the Transforming Church Initiative. Since this initiative is based upon the conviction that spiritual transformation is central to the message of the Gospel and therefore central to the mission of the Church, we are offering pastors and leaders the opportunity to explore strategic approaches to congregational life that keep the main thing the main thing (Colossians 1:28-29 as noted above). Through this initiative we seek to provide relationships and resources that help pastors and ministry leaders envision what it might look like to become a transforming church in their particular setting, support them in their desire to lead a transforming church, and equip them to do just that.
There are several components to this initiative, including 1) the Transforming Church Network which provides relationships among like-minded pastors and elders; 2) teaching and learning opportunities like the Pursuing God's Will Together Discernment Summit for leadership teams and 3) the Becoming a Transforming Church Retreat; and 4) published resources to utilize in congregations. We also currently provide limited on-site consulting for congregations. In the future we plan to expand our capacity for consultation while also offering coaching for pastors and church leaders.
An affiliation of churches led by pastors/leaders who are committed to becoming communities of spiritual transformation that discern and do the will of God.
The Network exists to provide relationships and resources that equip and encourage leaders in the process of becoming a transforming church. The Network meets twice a year in Chicago and regionally as connections develop.
Inspired by the release of Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups (InterVarsity, 2012) by Ruth Haley Barton, the Transforming Center convenes leaders from across the country to learn, experience, and practice different aspects of corporate leadership discernment.
The goal of this immersion experience is to equip and empower Christian pastors and leaders to guide their communities in discerning and doing the will of God.
How does a church or ministry become a community in which people experience transformation just by being a part of it? How can you develop a intentional approach to spiritual formation in your setting?
A transforming church is cultivated intentionally by leaders committed to an ongoing process of transformation in their personal lives and in their congregations. Becoming a transforming church is not primarily about programs; it is a culture shift that emanates from the leadership center, resulting in the ability to develop strategic alignment and focus.