Dallas Willard asks, “If we have gathered people into congregations by appeasing their appetites and desires, how can we help them deal with the fact that their problems in life and character— even ‘in church’— are primarily caused by living to get what they want?”
How we do what we do is formative—it forms us into who we are becoming. Some things form us into conformity with Christ, other things form us further into the conformity with the world. Biblical disciple-making is not successful until new behavior, obedience to the commands of Jesus, has been learned (Matt. 28:18-20). Such behavior is not incorporated until we’ve changed at the level of our desires.
But how do you change what you want? What practices did the early church apply which brought about the transformation behind their unlikely growth, even transformation of the world? An exploration of that history might be surprising, but what it points to are practices of Gospel formation (often called spiritual formation).
This Sunday in worship, as part of our series on Gospel Witness: the Reason for Our Existence, exploring our missional priorities, we are going to talk about Gospel formation and why it is vital to accomplishing the mission of the Gospel.