Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community

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"James Wilhoit has written a book of special urgency for our times. . . . With a warm heart and a gentle and intelligent manner, [he] helps us see, in great detail, what we can do to relocate spiritual transformation at the center of what we do in gathering as disciples of Jesus. He helps any serious person engage the project from where they are, discover what really works for Christlikeness and what doesn't, and assess outcomes realistically to make needed adjustments as they go."--Dallas Willard (from the foreword)

"Clearly written from an evangelical perspective, this cogent and passionate book deserves to have wide appeal."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Wilhoit presents an exciting paradigm for spiritual transformation in the community of faith--God's setting for transformation. It is a seminal work that I trust will be taken seriously."--Larry Richards, author and distinguished educator, North American Professors of Christian Education

"Theologically grounded, educationally sound, and gracious in tone, Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered is a robust response to Dallas Willard's challenge to the church to give greater attention to congregation-wide spiritual formation. Pastors and church teachers will appreciate this rich resource--well versed in the spiritual formation literature, with its summaries, stories, and practical steps--to guide and discern growth toward Christlikeness."--Klaus Issler, author of Wasting Time with God: A Christian Spirituality of Friendship with God

"Wilhoit offers a means for the church to provide an accessible pathway for growth in the ordinary events, relationships, and brokenness of our lives. This lovely work nourished my heart, instructed my mind, and opened my spirit to the Spirit of Christ."--Adele Calhoun, pastor of spiritual formation, Christ Church of Oak Brook, IL

"Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered is the mature fruit of a devout scholar. Here Jim Wilhoit weaves theory, passion, and practice together into a rich re-presentation of the gospel for the local church. He takes the discussion about spiritual formation an important step forward, shifting the emphasis from private pursuit to corporate culture. Sensitive to the seldom-noticed dangers along the path of growth toward Christlikeness, this book is loaded with wisdom for those who desire to facilitate communities of formation."--Evan Howard, author of The Brazos Introduction to Christian Spirituality

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The title of this tightly woven, consistently challenging meditation on Christian spiritual formation serves notice that this book is going to be more than another self-help manual. Indeed, Wheaton College professor Wilhoit, author of The Christian Educator's Handbook on Spiritual Formation, asserts that although developing "Christlikeness" in its members is the church's main job, many congregations have either abandoned old practices without developing new ones or have relied on stratagems instead of on God's grace. Because he views spiritual growth as a lifelong process, Wilhoit delineates a communal perspective on responding to Jesus' invitation to love God and neighbor, emphasizing shared practice and learning. His "four pillars of formation" include receiving, or being open to God's grace; remembering, or understanding who we are and why we were created; responding in service to neighbors and the world; and building relationships in the context of community. In alternating chapters, Wilhoit gives readers theological and biblical foundations for each principle, then suggests a set of practices. While it would be easy to get lost in the sober volume, this skilled writer uses many pedagogical tools to keep his audience focused. Clearly written from an evangelical perspective, this cogent and passionate book deserves to have wide appeal. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801027765
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/1/2008
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 546,946
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

James C. Wilhoit (PhD, Northwestern University) is the Scripture Press Professor of Christian Formation and Ministry at Wheaton College, where he has taught for more than twenty years. His previous publications include The Christian Educator's Handbook on Spiritual Formation.
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Table of Contents

1. Formation through the Ordinary
2. Curriculum for Christlikeness
3. Formation by Grace for the Broken and Thirsty
4. To Foster Receiving in Community
5. Foundations of Remembering: Letting the Cross Grow Larger
6. To Foster Remembering in Community
7. Foundations of Responding: Love and Service to God and Others.
8. To Foster Responding in Community
9. Foundations of Relating: Spiritually Enriching Relationships of Love and Service
10. To Foster Relating in Community
Appendix: Assessment Questions
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