Archives For Spiritual Formation

Steve Childers (in Orlando) teaching on John Owen’s views of overcoming temptation and sin.

John Owen (1616-1683) was an English pastor and theologian at Oxford in the 17th century. J.I. Packer, and many other scholars, consider Owen to be the greatest English speaking theologian of all time. If you’d like to received a free download of Steve Childers personal notes being used in the photo above, enter your email below.

Two Monks Parable Photo

There is an ancient parable about two monks. They are walking in silence when they see a young woman trying to cross a river with a strong current. She was frightened and asked if they could help her cross to the other side. The two monks glance at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman. Then, without a word, the older monk picks her up, carries her across the river through the dangerous current, and sets her down. The two monks continue to walk in silence for several hours. Finally, the younger monk breaks his silence: “You shouldn’t have done that because monks are not supposed to even touch a woman.” The older monk looked at him and replied, “Brother, are you still carrying that woman? I put her down hours ago.”

Course Summary

  • What: Spiritual Formation for Church Leaders Course (5-day intensive)
  • Who: Taught by Steve Childers, RTS-Orlando professor
  • Where: RTS-Orlando Campus
  • When: January 12-16, 2015
  • Learners: M.A., M.Div Credit Students – AND – Lay and Clergy Auditors (Non-Students)
  • Registration: Limited registration from November 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014
  • Information: For more information contact Lanny Conley at lconley@rts.edu
  • Syllabus: To see the complete syllabus and credit requirements Click Here

Course Description

“My people’s greatest need is my personal holiness.” – Robert Murray McCheyne

Church leaders must lead from character before skill. One of the greatest needs in the church today is for church leaders to recapture the primacy of developing Christian character (holiness) first in their lives, and then in the lives of those they serve. But to do so, without falling prey to the classic errors of legalism, moralism, and/or antinomianism (easy-believism), is very difficult.

Spiritual Formation is a course Steve Childers has taught for many years both in the classroom and on the field, in the USA and abroad, in English and other languages, for credit (masters and doctoral) and just to help church leaders not give up when drowning under the life-crushing load of personal and ministry demands.

In this course emerging and seasoned church leaders will be encouraged and equipped to be continually growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ through experiencing a safe place where the riches of the gospel are deeply and refreshingly explored, and applied to real life and ministry.

Course Instructor

Steve Childers is Associate Professor of Practical Theology (since 1995) at Reformed Theological Seminary, in Orlando, Florida, where he regularly teaches evangelism, spiritual formation, church planting, church renewal, and missions. He has earned masters degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago, and a doctorate from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando. Steve has a1 Steve Childers Headshot 2014 1.1 MB - Version 2lso done doctoral studies in leadership development and global missions at Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of World Mission in Pasadena, California.

Steve is the founder and President of GCA, continuing as Pathway Learning (http://www.PathwayLearning.org), a church leadership training organization that provides innovative educational pathways for church leaders. Steve has planted and pastored two churches. Since then he has written church planting, renewal, and multiplication training curriculum and helped train thousands of church leaders from more than 300 denominations representing over 50 countries in 7 languages on 5 continents. Steve’s book, All Things New: The Gospel of the Kingdom and parallel ecourse are scheduled for release in 2015. Steve and his wife Becky live in Orlando, Florida, and have three adult daughters and one granddaughter.

Course Objectives

  A Mind for Truth

  • To understand and articulate a biblical theology of personal spiritual growth and renewal, especially as it relates to the centrality of the cross and the gospel
  • To understand the biblical imperative for personal holiness and the priority of ongoing spiritual growth and renewal in the life of the church leader today
  • To understand the biblical nature of the gospel’s transforming power, especially as it relates to the Kingdom of God and mission of the church
  • To understand, evaluate, and appreciate various principles, methods, and models used today to help people grow spiritually
  • To be acquainted with the literature relating to personal spiritual growth and renewal (especially English Puritan literature, e.g. John Owen, Richard Baxter, et al.) and be able to think biblically and critically about how it can be used properly and effectively in the student’s life and ministry

  A Heart for God

  • To experience spiritual growth and renewal through applying the biblical concepts of gospel-driven spiritual formation to the heart
  • To diagnose and repent from the core idols (sin beneath the sin) that draw the student’s heart affections away from Christ
  • To appropriate the transforming pardon and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ through setting the student’s heart affections on Him by faith
  • To show love for God and others by loving God’s Law, obeying it by God’s grace, and allowing it to lead the student to Jesus Christ for transformation into His image
  • To practice spiritual disciplines (such as meditating on Scripture, prayer, journaling, fasting, witnessing, etc.) as a means of setting the student’s heart affection on Christ
  • To be an agent of personal spiritual growth and renewal in the lives of others

  A Life for Ministry

  • To lay a strong foundation for future studies in the dynamics of how the gospel brings spiritual growth and renewal both personally and corporately
  • To lay a strong foundation for the practical development of church–based ministries of spiritual growth and renewal, especially for those planning to be church planters, pastors, and missionaries
  • To obtain a set of criteria for evaluating spiritual growth and renewal principles, methods, materials, programs, and trends

Course Readings (Optional for Lay and Clergy Auditors)

  • Baxter, Richard, The Reformed Pastor. Banner of Truth.
  • Bridges, Jerry, The Disciplines of Grace. Navpress.
  • Keller, Tim, The Prodigal God. E.P. Dutton.
  • Lovelace, Richard, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, An Evangelical Theology of Renewal. [Chapters 2-8]. (200 pp), Renewal as a Way of Life, A Guidebook for Spiritual Growth. Wiph and Stock Publishers. (204 pp)
  • Miller, Jack, The Heart of a Servant Leader. P & R Publishing (319 pp)
  • Miller, Paul. A Praying Life. NavPress (260 pp)
  • Packer, J.I., Keep in Step with the Spirit: Finding Fullness in our Walk with God. Baker Books. (256 pp), The Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life. Crossway Books (368 pp), Knowing God. InterVarsity Press. [Chapters 15, 18, 19] (55 pp).
  • Prior, Kenneth, The Way of Holiness: The Study in Christian Growth. InterVarsity Press (172 pp).
  • Smith, Scotty, Objects of His Affection: Coming Alive to the Compelling Love of GodSimon and Shuster (260 pp)
  •  Wright, N. Thomas: Surprised by Hope. Harper Collins (356 pp)