Lead your church or organization in becoming a community of spiritual transformation

 

What is a Transforming Church?

"Be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2 (NRSV)

A Transforming Church is a community of men and women gathered around the presence of Christ for the purpose of spiritual transformation so they can discern and do the will of God. As a community, they affirm that being conformed into the image of Christ for the sake of others is central to the message of the Gospel and therefore central to the mission of the Church.

A Transforming Church is guided by a leader or leaders who have completed (or are in the process of completing) the two-year Transforming Community® experience, and are committed to leading their community in an intentional process of spiritual transformation in community. They may also choose to become part of the Transforming Church® network, an affiliation of churches led by leaders who are seeking to guide their churches in the process of becoming transforming communities that discern and do the will of God.

Convictions and Commitments

In partnership with the Transforming Center and other like-minded pastors and church leaders, members of the Transforming Church network are seeking to take concrete steps to cultivate the following shared understanding and commitment in ways appropriate to their church polity and/or organizational structure while being sensitive to the particularities of their siuation.   These include:

  1. A shared commitment to arranging their life together for spiritual transformation so they can discern and do the will of God.
  2. A shared understanding of spiritual transformation:
    1. What it is—the process by which Christ is formed in us for the glory of God, for the abundance of our own lives, and for the sake of others.
    2. How it takes place—through spiritual practices, experiences, and relationships that open us to God's transforming work. To that end, they are cultivating and embracing sacred rhythms together in the following ways:
      •Individuals are crafting a personal rule/rhythm of life
      •The community is cultivating a rhythm/rule of life together
      •Individually and together they are cultivating intentional ways of being shaped
        by the seasons of the Church year
    3. What is the outcome—increasing capacity to love God and others and to discern God-guided action in their community and the world beyond their community. (For a more complete treatment of these points, see "What We Believe About Spiritual Transformation")
  3. Shared conviction that:
    1. Spiritual transformation for the sake of others is central to the message of the Gospel and therefore central to the mission of the Church.
    2. It is God's will and delight that we are to be transformed into the image of Christ.
    3. The transformation of human beings into the image of Christ is a testimony to the power of the Gospel.
    4. Spiritual transformation is prerequisite to discerning and doing the will of God—which then becomes their mission.
  4. Shared understanding that spiritual transformation is both:
    1. an end in itself—it brings glory to God and abundance to our own lives; and
    2. a means to other ends—it is for the sake of others in that it motivates and leads us to discern loving action in the world.  In this way, transforming churches are by their very nature missional.
  5. Commitment to an intentional/strategic approach to cultivating a community of spiritual transformation. Transforming Churches:
    1. Work from the center out. Beginning with the senior leader or leaders and emanating from the "leadership center" out, spiritual transformation is being experienced and guided at all levels of the church's life.
    2. Start with personal transformation. Leaders and members have a shared commitment to their own process of spiritual transformation while working to foster transformation throughout the community.
    3. Move to corporate transformation. The community clarifies and adheres to shared values and practices that transform them in community.
    4. Seek organizational alignment. Leaders cultivate an organizational culture in which spiritual transformation and practices permeate all aspects of the community's life together.
  6. Commitment to discernment as a way of making decisions in community:
    1. Personal discernment. Individuals are learning about and engaging the habit and practice of discernment.
    2. Corporate leadership discernment. Leaders are learning and practicing an agreed-upon process for discernment at the leadership level.
    3. Discernment in community. The entire community is taught and invited into discernment processes in ways appropriate to church polity and organizational structure.
  7. Commitment to unity in diversity (John 17:20-26), equality across lines of race and socioeconomic status, and an egalitarian view of men and women in ministry (Galatians 3:28).


Benefits of being in the Transforming Church Network

  1. Relationships. The network is intended to foster ongoing relationships of mutual care and concern, shared learning and accountability through peer supervision, opportunities for sharing ideas, best practices, and lessons learned through mistakes made. Rather than being a virtual community, the network seeks to provide face- to- face community with other leaders on the same journey, plus access to coaching and consulting from leaders experienced in guiding transforming communities.
  2. Resources. One key function of the Transforming Church network will be to continue to produce published resources and programs that provide teaching and experiential learning, shared wisdom and best practices, guest presentations and resource materials prepared by significant thought leaders. Current examples include the Pursuing God's Will Together Discernment Summit for Leaders, the Leading a Transforming Church program, etc. Such events will offer concrete guidance for how to utilize Transforming Resources towards strategic approaches to transformation in congregational settings. Is it assumed that network members will be involved in producing new published resources as needs are identified.
  3. Training. Eventually we will identify "teaching churches" where leaders can go to observe and learn from what others are doing.  Our hope is that internships might be offered as well.
  4. Strength of Soul. Ongoing opportunities for cultivating the strength of soul that comes from being with other like-minded leaders.
  5. Priority Access to Ruth Barton, David Hughes and the Transforming Center team. Transforming Churches will receive special consideration regarding requests for on-site speaking, retreat leadership and consultation.