Table of Contents
Training Tracks December 2012
Hi fellow SEND-ers,
Learning about spiritual formation
One of my priorities in my personal growth plan for 2012 was to better understand spiritual formation. I wanted to be able to define spiritual formation in other ways than just spiritual disciplines and I wanted to better understand what things should be taught in MOP in the area of spiritual formation. One of the learning activities associated with that priority was to read a book by David Teague entitled Godly Servants: Discipleship and Spiritual Formation for Missionaries. The book has very short chapters, and the author has made a deep subject very accessible. To my surprise, Missio Nexus featured my review of the book in their recent “Book Look”, and so those of you who already have created a profile on Missio Nexus will have recently received this review in your email. You can also find it on Amazon or here.
But the second learning activity that I chose in the area of spiritual formation was even more helpful than the book. I listened to a series of five lectures on spiritual formation by Dr. John Coe, Director of the Institute for Spiritual Formation at Talbot School of Theology and Biola University. This series of lectures, together with all the handouts and supplementary reading, is available as a free download from the Biblical Training website. Dr. Coe helped me understand the significance of the Dark Night of the Soul, and what God is doing in our lives when we seem unable to connect with Him and our spiritual disciplines seem dry and boring. As a result of what I have learned through these lectures, I have begun to pray that God would reveal to me the sin in my heart that is hidden from others, and often from myself, but which God sees so clearly. I have also learned to more fully appreciate God's grace and acceptance of me, given what He knows about me. I would highly recommend this series to those who want to understand how to draw near to God when He seems far away and how the spiritual disciplines are designed to develop godliness.
Your individual growth plan
As we approach the start of a new year, I would like to encourage you to put together your own personal growth plan for the coming year. We all want to be lifelong learners, and it is best to be intentional about it. In the past couple of weeks, a number of us from the USO and the IO have been working on a missionary growth model, with a self-assessment and personal growth plan template that we believe will help SEND members and appointees in the process of creating a personal growth plan. The project is still being reviewed and may be further revised, but I think it is well enough developed to recommend for your use. You can access it by clicking on this link in my Dropbox, and as newer editions are developed, this link will always give you the latest version.
What's new on the wiki
We have added a number of resources and links to “story-telling”, including many resources from Dr. Larry Dinkins, who facilitated the training in storying at DC, and who will be leading a 5-day workshop on “Simply the Story” in Macedonia from March 26-30, 2013. Also we have further developed the page on “Language and Orientation,” including some ideas for self-directed learning activities for new missionaries in that L&O phase.
Borrowed blog posts
Finally, let me highlight a couple of recent blog posts on the SEND U blog. Ken Z and Philip Jackson (Macedonia) have graciously allowed me to re-post two fine articles that they have written. Ken, in Gospel Saturation, has shared a number of resources that encourage and help us to preach the Gospel to ourselves on a daily basis. Philip has reflected on his experience of preparing for a marathon, and in “Don't Try, Train!” has drawn out a few principles that apply to us as we train ourselves for godliness (1 Tim 4:7). Both Philip's and Ken's thoughts harmonize well with what I have been learning from Dr. John Coe (above). More articles from Philip on the marathon theme will be posted on our SEND U blog in coming weeks.
Merry Christmas to all, and keep learning,
living in Kiev, Ukraine