During session 8 and 9, I've been reflecting on how the journey itself of formation changes you - by making you a more spiritual person as you go through the stages of formation.
The last video in Session 8 talked to this - yes, there is the professional development relevant to whatever training you are doing be it to become a Reader or an Ordained Minister, but also by going through formation, you develop spiritually as well - do I feel different to when I started this course for example (yes I do in case you are wondering) - what about others?
So, the question I have is how does this spiritual development occur - partly I think it is about being part of a trusting community (this group and our own church for example) where you can openly discuss matters of faith, but it is also about encouraging us to look inside of ourselves and ask more focused questions about our relationship with God, and how best to serve. The video described this as 'inside out leadership'. I've certainly being doing this a lot during the course
What do others think? does that make sense, or are there other aspects I haven't considered?
To conclude, I looked at the formation criteria for ordained ministry in the CoE after going through session 9 - curious to see what it was. Spirituality and worship one of the criteria as you'd expect of course. Here if of interest -formation_criteria_for_ordained_ministry.pdf (churchofengland.org)
Hi Philip, could you tell me how you put a picture behind you like you did today on zoom. I would love to be able to do that! From ALicia
During this course we have given ourselves time to reflect and be close to God, to reflect on what purpose or plan God has for us. How can spending time on our spiritual life and time with God not change us? Surely we have been on a journey of formation all our lives. For most formation will have been gradual, and for some there will have been step-changes at certain points, perhaps during this course. I find myself reawakened and refocussed.
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of formation is discernment. How can we really be really sure that God's call is real, and that we are not motivated by self-interest or just delusional. Susie gave us a useful litmus test in the last study day...something we can all use. However, when it comes to Reader Ministry training or Ordination, it is right that the process of formation be scrutinised and 'confirmed'. I am sure the process of formation is not always comfortable, we may be asked to make sacrifices along the way, or face challenging situations which make us doubt our ability or worthiness. It is not easy to give yourself to God unconditionally, but this is what he asks of us, whatever role, whatever purpose he has for us. For me this is the 'inside out leadership' you describe. We need to allow ourselves to be led by God at work within us.