After defining “Spiritual Formation” from various angles and perspectives, this course will survey spiritual disciplines. There will be a special focus on the importance of a balanced theology (affirming divine initiative and human responsibility) in a healthy understanding of the spiritual disciplines.
From there, we’ll discuss how these disciplines can be employed toward personal and parish renewal, and how temperaments and personalities make a difference. In the spiritual life, “one size (or template) does not fit all.” Therefore, there is a need to be attentive to the unique configuration or wiring of each soul and congregation.
Finally, we’ll turn our attention to the development of a “Rule” for faithful living as well as the ways we might define “pathways” for devotion and discipline in various settings.
Students are required to have the following books for this class:
- The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith, by Janet Hagberg & Robert Guelich
- Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation, by Robert Mulholland
- Discover Your Spiritual Type: A Guide to Individual and Congregational Growth, by Corinne Ware
This is the first course in the Institute for Discipleship certification in Spiritual Formation, and is a pre-requisite for all of the other courses in the Spiritual Formation certification. This course is eligible for 3.0 CEU.
About the Instructor
The Rev. Dr. Jim Reiter is a retired elder in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church after having served a number of churches in the East Texas area over 35 years.
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. Most recently, Jim has completed all coursework at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary for a Professional Certification in Spiritual Formation through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Jim provides ongoing leadership of the “Faith-Forming Relationships & Spiritual Formation” team of the Texas Annual Conference.
Throughout the course of his active years as a United Methodist pastor, spiritual formation has been a keen interest and focus for Jim. It’s an interest/focus emerging from a host of streams, including 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.
Early retirement has allowed Jim to direct his energies most fully to his passion in ministry: spiritual formation. Jim and Kathy, his wife of 35 years and spiritual formation leader in her own right, recently founded Zoe-Life Explorations, a series of program offerings designed to facilitate experiences in and conversations about spiritual formation in the lives of individuals and faith communities.