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The purpose of this project was to introduce the paradigm and practices of spiritual formation through an intensive small group experience. The experience aimed to equip adults to initiate and sustain a lifetime of continuous spiritual growth. This approach was tested through two pilot projects at Cedar Hills Church in Sandpoint, Idaho, and was designed to serve as an ongoing part of Cedar Hills’ adult ministry.

To develop a theology of spiritual formation, this study begins with an examination of Scripture, highlighting transformation as a central concept for Christian growth. This transformation unfolds in divine-human partnership and progressively aligns a person’s beliefs, practices, and affections with Jesus Christ. Further scriptural study develops an active, reflective, and collaborative view of spiritual formation.

This theological framework guided the design of a small group intensive called Experiments in Spiritual Formation. A total of twenty-three participants engaged in two separate pilot projects. The first session of the intensive featured several inventories to help participants identify their season of spiritual growth. Following sessions utilized A Spiritual Formation Workbook, based on the six streams of spiritual formation identified by Richard Foster, to propel understanding of and engagement in spiritual formation traditions and practices. Concluding sessions celebrated progress and invited participants to formulate plans for their ongoing spiritual growth.

Based on participant feedback and the author’s observations, this project did effectively introduce participants to spiritual formation and spurred new levels of engagement in their spiritual growth. To translate the growth of participants during the intensive into ongoing growth, future iterations will provide resources to help participants engage in a small group community for collaborative spiritual growth. For the larger Christian community, the project confirms the importance of a spiritual formation framework, the significance of experimentation, and the value of collaborative communities of practice in promoting spiritual development.

Content Reader: A.J. Swoboda, PhD

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

First Advisor

Swoboda, A.J.

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Cedar Hills Church (Sandpoint, Idaho); Spiritual formation; Pentecostal churches


Missions and World Christianity


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April 2018

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