Number of weeks: 2
Required books?: No
Live video session?: TBD
Part of a certification or series of courses?: No
Spiritual formation isn’t new; it’s only been lost for a while. (Dallas Willard, Leadership Journal, Summer 2005)
What is this arena of ministry which folks are calling “Spiritual Formation”?
How does it compare and contrast with the popular notion of “Christian discipleship”?
Defining spiritual formation is a two-week introduction to the field of spiritual formation–designed to help individuals and small groups to better understand the ancient yet contemporary process of how we come to mature in the Christian life.
Over the span of the two-week course, students can expect four sessions, each incorporating…
• A video presentation
• Supplemental readings
• Opportunities to engage a Discussion Board (with an aim and hope of bridging head and heart)
Four distinct approaches will inform each of the four sessions — and our ultimate definition of spiritual formation:
1) Isolating the obvious and positive elements of what spiritual formation is.
2) Clarifying what Spiritual Formation is not – that is, distinguishing spiritual formation (from kindred concepts with which it can be too easily confused)
3) describing a few of the crucial tensions or paradoxes which SF maintains and navigates, and
4) conveying some sense of the means and ends of spiritual formation in real life and practice
The following video has been prepared to introduce you to course facilitator, Rev. Jim Reiter, and to give individuals a more personal orientation to the broad strokes of this course and desired outcomes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJf7OsR2wWc&t=198s
About the Instructor
After 35 years of active parish ministry in the East Texas area (including several congregations in Houston), the Rev. Dr. James H. “Jim” Reiter took early retirement so that he and his wife, Kathy, could pursue their interest and passions in spiritual formation on a full-time basis.
A 1983 graduate of Texas A&M University, Jim went on to attend Perkins School of Theology where he received his M.Div. in 1987 and his D.Min. in 1992. Prior to his retirement in 2018, Jim coursework at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary pursuant to a Professional Certification in Spiritual Formation through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Most recently, Jim has completed studies with the “FIND School for Spiritual Direction and Formation” (Episcopal Diocese of Texas)—being certified and commissioned as a spiritual director and now serving on their faculty.
Throughout the course of his active years as a United Methodist pastor, spiritual formation has been a keen passion and interest for Jim. It’s an interest/focus emerging from a host of streams, including service as chairperson of the Spiritual Formation Team of the Texas Annual Conference, explorations in the contemplative life, immersion experiences in monastic settings, leadership in a variety of retreat settings, research in stages of faith development, experience with and gleanings from traditional and not-so-traditional spiritual disciplines, and a keen interest in the intersection of Christ and culture – focused especially in the spiritual themes embedded in the movies.
Jim and Kathy (his wife of 35 years and a spiritual formation leader in her own right), founded Zoe-Life Explorations (www.zoe-life.net) in the Spring of 2018. The mission of Zoe-Life is focused through published resources and a series of program offerings designed to facilitate experiences in and conversations about spiritual formation in the lives of individuals and faith communities.