Webinar Recordings

Discipleship & Spiritual Formation: What's the Difference?

Recorded June 23, 2022

From Christian education, to discipleship, to spiritual formation; mentoring, teaching, or guiding. Our terminologies have changed, but has anything else morphed? Join us as we unlock the nomenclature for what’s been often described as “making disciples,” or was it “building disciples” or “creating disciples”? Let’s explore what’s in common and what distinguishes one from another. Hopefully we can gain some clarity together!

HOST & PANELISTS INCLUDE:

Definitions of Discipleship & Spiritual Formation mentioned in the webinar:

“A healthy disciple…experiences God’s empowering presence; engages in God-exalting worship; practices the spiritual disciplines; learns and grows in community; commits to loving and caring relationships; exhibits Christlike servanthood; shares the love of God generously; manages life wisely and accountably; unites with the Body of Christ; and stewards a life of abundance.” –Stephen Macchia in Becoming A Healthy Disciple, pp.18-19; 22-23

“A disciple of Jesus is a person who has decided to live in attentiveness to Jesus.” –Margaret Campbell

“ True discipleship is about a lifestyle, not simply about stored up Bible knowledge. Discipleship is about being and reproducing zealots for Christ. Discipleship, in other words, is about passionately pursuing the lifestyle and mission of Jesus Christ.” –George Barna

“A disciple is one who responds in faith and obedience to the gracious call to follow Jesus Christ. Being a disciple is a lifelong process of dying to self while allowing Jesus Christ to come alive in us.” – Greg Ogden

Robert Coleman’s Master Plan of Evangelism – Jesus with his disciples: Selection; Association; Consecration; Impartation; Demonstration; Delegation; Supervision; Reproduction

“Christian spiritual formation is the process of being shaped by the Spirit into the likeness of Christ, filled with love for God and the world.” – Renovare’s  A Call to Spiritual Formation (San Antonio 2009 statement)

“‘Spiritual formation’ refers to the process of shaping our spirit and giving it a definite character . . . Spiritual formation in Christ is the process whereby the inmost being of the individual (the heart, will, or spirit) take on the quality or character of Jesus Himself.” – Dallas Willard in The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus’s Essential Teachings on Discipleship (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), p. 53

“Spiritual formation for the Christian basically refers to the Spirit-driven process of forming the inner world of the human self in such a way that it becomes like the inner being of Christ himself.” – Dallas Willard in Renovation of the Heart: Putting on the Character of Christ

“Spiritual formation is a process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others”  – M. Robert Mulholland, Jr. in Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), p. 12

“Spiritual formation is a loving relationship with God that shapes our being rather than a technique or method or program for self improvement.” – M. Robert Mulholland, Jr. in Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation

“Spiritual formation is the life-long, faith-filled process…of the Holy Spirit transforming…the whole person…into the likeness of Christ…to the glory of the Father…as informed by the whole word of God…in relationship with the whole people of God…to fulfill the whole mission of God.”– Dave Currie (GCTS Dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program)

“Christian spiritual formation is the lifelong journey of being transformed by the love of the Father, into the image of Jesus, by the gracious movement of the Holy Spirit, in order to live an abundant life of trust, rest, hope, and joy, accompanied by suffering and sorrow, for the sake of God’s Kingdom and glory, and the fulfillment of his mission of grace, justice, peace, and mercy for all.” – Stephen A. Macchia in The Discerning Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Reflective, 2022), p. 127

Additional Resources and Opportunities:

If you would like to learn more about spiritual formation, we invite you to consider the following opportunities and resources:

  • Emmaus Certificate in Formational Leadership (apply now for Fall 2022)- a 2-year online certificate program in Formational Leadership, where together in community, you are equipped for personal spiritual growth and renewal and to care for the souls of others with a listening posture in your leadership contexts. 
  • Abide Certificate in Spiritual Formation (apply now for Fall 2022)- a 10-month online certificate program in Spiritual Formation, where through readings, teachings, conversations with authors, group discussions and communal prayer, you explore 10 spiritual formation topics oriented towards personal spiritual growth in Christ-likeness.  
  • The Discerning Leader Podcast – a weekly podcast hosted by Steve Macchia for those interested in discovering the joy of “practicing a preference for God” in all aspects of their personal lives and relationships, their leadership and service to others.
  • Online Workshops and Soul Care Retreats – We invite you to join any of our online workshops and retreats to aid you in your spiritual journey and to offer you space for the care and nurture of your soul. 
  • PATHWAYS – Sign up for LTI’s weekly newsletter containing resources, soul-enriching content,
    and practical training for your spiritual journey.

Servant, Steward, Shepherd: Learning to Lead Like Jesus

Recorded June 16, 2022

What does it mean to be a leader? Strong? Decisive? Determined? Visionary? These are good qualities but they don’t tell the whole story. Particularly in the realm of Spiritual Leadership, more is needed to be the kind of leader who cares about the spiritual growth of others, who sees people and listens to them, who raises others up, who leads by serving and empowers others to do the same.

HOST & PANELISTS INCLUDE:

Additional Resources and Opportunities:

If you would like to learn more about spiritual leadership, we invite you to consider the following opportunities and resources:

  • Emmaus Certificate in Formational Leadership (apply now for Fall 2022)- a 2-year online certificate program in Formational Leadership, where together in community, you are equipped for personal spiritual growth and renewal and to care for the souls of others with a listening posture in your leadership contexts. 
  • Abide Certificate in Spiritual Formation (apply now for Fall 2022)- a 10-month online certificate program in Spiritual Formation, where through readings, teachings, conversations with authors, group discussions and communal prayer, you explore 10 spiritual formation topics oriented towards personal spiritual growth in Christ-likeness.  
  • The Discerning Leader Podcast – a weekly podcast hosted by Steve Macchia for those interested in discovering the joy of “practicing a preference for God” in all aspects of their personal lives and relationships, their leadership and service to others.
  • Online Workshops and Soul Care Retreats – We invite you to join any of our online workshops and retreats to aid you in your spiritual journey and to offer you space for the care and nurture of your soul. 
  • PATHWAYS – Sign up for LTI’s weekly newsletter containing resources, soul-enriching content,
    and practical training for your spiritual journey.

Steve Macchia

Founder & President

Steve is a graduate of Northwestern College (IA) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.). His prior ministry includes serving on the pastoral staff at Grace Chapel (Lexington, MA) and as president of Vision New England. Since July 1, 2003 Steve has served as founder and president of Leadership Transformations, director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building, and adjunct faculty in the Doctor of Ministry department at Gordon-Conwell. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective),  Baker bestseller Becoming a Healthy Church, and Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP). He lives in the Boston area with his wife Ruth and is the proud father of two grown children, Rebekah and Nathan, daughter in-love Ashley, and papa to his beloved granddaughter, Brenna Lynn and twin grandsons, Aiden Joseph and Carson Stephen. “My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

Detailed Biography
Articles by Stephen Macchia
Author Website
Schedule a one-on-one with Steve

Jeremy Stefano

Director of Emmaus, Director of Abide, Selah Faculty-at-Large, & Minister of Spiritual Formation

Jeremy offers spiritual direction, leads retreats, teaches on spiritual formation topics and serves as the director of Emmaus, a Certificate Program in Formational Leadership, and Abide, a Certificate Program in Spiritual Formation. He also works with students of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary at the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building. The heartbeat of Jeremy’s calling is to encourage Christian leaders in the cultivation of their relationship with God. He has served various churches as pastor and interim pastor. He and Bethany, his wife of 32 years, have been blessed with eight children and three grandchildren. They make their home in Massachusetts. He has a Licentiate in Theology from the Cape Town Baptist Seminary in South Africa, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Regent College in Canada and a D.Min. in Leadership and Spiritual Formation from Portland Seminary in Portland, OR. “Friendships have been a source of grace in my life. It is a gift to serve in LTI alongside those who value the priority of rich and enduring relationships with each other.

Articles by Jeremy Stefano

Susan Porterfield Currie

Director of Selah, Abide Faculty, & Minister of Spiritual Formation

Susan is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (DMin in Spiritual Formation; MATS), CFDM Pacific Northwest Certificate Program in Spiritual Guidance, and Bryn Mawr College (MA, English Lit). She has served in church and parachurch settings for over 30 years, focusing on spiritual formation ministries, retreat leadership, and spiritual direction, and along with her husband Dave serves as affiliated clergy in the Anglican Diocese in New England (ACNA), offering support to area clergy and to the Anglican Formation Track at Gordon-Conwell. Susan and Dave are the parents of three married children – all grace! – and enjoy home hospitality to extended family as well as guests that come their way. In Sabbath moments Susan will be found outdoors – sitting, hiking, kayaking, immersing herself in the beauty of creation – or indoors, tea and scones at her side, immersing herself in the beauty of good words. “LTI has been my ministry home for over 15 years, where with amazing colleagues I delight in creating and nurturing spacious, reflective presence to God. Glory!

Articles by Susan Currie

Gayle Heaslip

Gayle Heaslip

Spiritual Formation Associate, Abide Faculty, & Selah Faculty

Gayle Heaslip has a degree in counseling from Gordon-Conwell Seminary and having completed Selah’s spiritual direction training program, she is drawn to walk alongside others as they grow into the fullness of life the Lord supplies through both trials and triumphs. In addition to working with LTI and offering spiritual direction to individuals and groups, she is a priest in the Anglican Church of North America, serving a missional fellowship in Falmouth. Gayle delights in the ever-changing beauty of Cape Cod where she lives with her husband and close to their three grown children and eight grandchildren. Good books and conversation, hiking, writing and photography, and time alone to ponder are God’s gracious gifts to her. “I have been deeply formed over many years through LTI within its listening, companioning community, and I’m honored to walk with others in the Emmaus and Selah programs as we become more attentive and responsive to God’s presence.

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