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The goal of this project is to help the people of Longview Community Church deepen their ability to encounter and respond to the love of God through participating in an introductory experience of Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. This project explores how the Ignatian practices of reflective meditation on Scripture, imaginative contemplation of Scripture, and the prayer of examen help people not only gain theological insights but also have a transformative encounter with God.
The Spiritual Exercises provides a corrective to the predominant models of discipleship in the contemporary Protestant church, which often focus more on informing minds than transforming hearts. Informational models of discipleship fall short of the New Testament vision of the spiritual life, which calls people into a transformative love relationship with God. Jesus invites people to love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength, and love their neighbors as themselves.
This project culminates in a nine-week spiritual formation experience titled, Encounter: A Spiritual Formation Retreat in Daily Life. Encounter consists of an orientation day, daily Ignatian prayer practices, individual spiritual direction, and contemplative sharing groups. The five desired outcomes of the Encounter retreat are to help participants increase their capacity for an experiential encounter with God in Scripture, awareness of God in daily life, openness to God, freedom from unhealthy attachments, and desire to love and serve God.
Overall the Encounter retreat has proven to be effective in helping people grow in their ability to encounter and respond to God. There is evidence to show participants experienced growth in each of the five desired outcomes. The results of this project suggest that an Ignatian approach to spiritual formation has the potential to form disciples who actively love God and others.
Doctor of Ministry
Dr. Thomas Ashbrook
Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises, Imaginative Contemplation, Ignatian Spirituality, Scripture Meditation, Examen, Missional Spirituality, Prayer, Spiritual Formation
Christianity | Practical Theology | Religious Education
Material is subject to copyright.
Rushton, Philip, "From Insight to Encounter: The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and the Transformation of the Heart" (2019). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 362.