Blog Post: Chapter 12, “TOV Churches Nurture Christlikeness”
Achievement and Accomplishment OR Christoformity? What is the goal of the church you are in? As we all know, no church will be perfect. What is the overall ‘tenor’ of the atmosphere as you attend church and take part in the life of the church? Is there a general sense of feeling more or less known and safe? Or is there at times, an inner need to escape or hide, even while in plain sight? Pay attention to those nudges.
Achievement and Accomplishment are both manifested predominantly in ‘Doing.’ ‘Christoformity’ is a reflection of ‘Being,’ a result of spiritual formation and spiritual direction. ‘Being’ is much more difficult than ‘Doing.’ Following are quotes I appreciated from the authors that focus on Being.
“It might be fair to say that what the church needs are not pastor-leaders but pastors who will shepherd under the Great Shepherd, Jesus. Yes, pastors provide some leadership, but they should be leading toward spiritual formation.” p. 209.
“A church is a local community of believers who are striving to be like Christ, both as a congregation and as individuals…. They function based on the interdependence of gifted individuals working together to honor, worship, and serve God, under the exclusive headship of Jesus Christ, and empowered and inspired by the Holy Spirit.” p. 215-216
“The pastor’s calling and the church’s calling are to nurture people into Christoformity – to nurture people into tov. God is good, Christ is good, and to be like Christ is to be tov. We have come full circle now. The entire Circle of Tov is swallowed up and comprehensively expressed by Christlikeness.” p. 217
In a tov environment as described above, the context will generally feel safe, there will be honest connections between most people and there will be choice. Spiritual formation is a life long journey for all those who are in the church, no matter what their position. Respect the Christoformity journey with honesty, with great care, courage and determination. Seek Jesus as the Head of the Body; He is faithful and trustworthy.
The longer each one of us lives, the higher the likelihood of ‘Hitting a Wall’ or two or more in our faith journey. Our reaction to ‘The Wall’ that presents itself to us determines if our faith will grow deeper roots that create a deep abiding trust in God – no matter what! It’s generally called suffering, a great teacher that leads to Christoformity. Those who respond to ‘The Wall’ with ultimate trust in God, obedience, and vulnerability will become safe people who are able to grow a Tov church due to the humility, strength, and courage they have learned through their trust and vulnerability with God. Credit for ‘The Wall’ goes to Janet O. Hagbert and Robert A. Guelich who wrote The Critical Journey, Stages in the Life of Faith, a very helpful companion book to A Church Called Tov.
Blog Post from Dianne Loerchner, Registered Psychotherapist and Elder at Kingsfield Zurich Mennonite Church