Back when we started in 2004, we were seeing lives changed so significantly, and so often, that we wanted to know why!
Participants in our courses were being transformed in so many ways we couldn’t keep up. And the transformation stuck.
Broken hearts were put back together; bodies were getting healed without direct prayer; severe physical and mental addictions were broken; hope restored; and on it went.
I spent some time deconstructing all that we were doing in the environment that seemed so powerful and came to an interesting conclusion – no one thing makes the difference in a person’s transformation, it is a number of things working together.
The absence of any one of these elements impinges greatly on the process.
So seldom are we changed by one person’s prayer. Rarely will a piece of teaching in isolation be enough to transform our life.
To get the most out of bringing a transformational culture of renewal in to your life church, you need to couple it with some other dynamics.
We see this most clearly in the way Jesus trained others to change the world.
Jesus method of transformation
As the Master Teacher, Jesus knew how to catalyse growth. When He sent out the seventy-two followers in Luke 10, it was a deliberate move to mature them somewhat. He had done it previously with the twelve, but here He was taking the opportunity to expand the team to another tier.
We can see from His methods that there was a deliberate yet simple strategy, and also a good degree of success. There are four dynamics of growth in His plan that are universal and effective.
We found that the same four dynamics that Jesus used still work today. The dynamics are: Spiritual; Relational; Experiential; and Instructional.
By taking people on an extended journey in groups; by stretching their experience; teaching them new things; and giving them a direct encounter with the Spirit – they were embedded into all four key dynamics.
Let’s look at how Jesus did it.
(c) Malcolm Webber
Jesus gave the seventy-two a degree of spiritual authority that they did not have previously. In this pre-Pentecost environment Jesus would draw-down from heaven and imbue these people with the upgrade required to do more than attempt to convince people to embrace the kingdom. They were able to demonstrate God’s power, not just talk about it. When it comes to our development, remember that 2 Corinthians 3:18 validates spiritual experiences in the transformational process. As we contemplate God’s glory, we grow in glory that can only come from His Spirit.
In our courses and retreats, we were deliberately creating spaces and activities where participants could meet with God. This opened them up to receive His love and grace in powerful ways.
Jesus’ followers were sent out in pairs, and they were sent to real people. Our 21st century western life has presented us with the option of doing most of our work remotely, or via social media, or in a closed room gazing at a screen. When those who are introverted and task oriented seek to fulfill God’s will in their life, they will default to doing it in that environment. But God doesn’t want you to connect with virtual reality, Facebook, or computer code. You are designed to engage with other human beings. It is relationships that change people. They need to see your eyes and look into your heart. If you dwell on the seasons of growth you have experienced so far, it would be rare not to have a face and name or two attached to that process. We grow best when we grow with people. Our materials are done in groups. Participants feed off and encourage each other, and they go through their experiences together. The bonds they form in the process are long-standing, and serve to help each person consolidate what has been gained.
Jesus sent them to do a practical task. They would go into an environment that forced them to engage with life, not just theory. They would potentially encounter hunger, persecution, disappointment as well as success. But that success wouldn’t come from conquering an app or solving an equation on a whiteboard – they were to engage in the dust and sweat of real people’s push-back and need.
Jesus will use life’s experiences to grow you. The people and challenges around us that we often pray for Him to remove, might be the very elements He wants to use to grow you.
In the development culture we have created, we stretch people to go beyond their previous norms. We encourage them to worship in new ways, to pray longer, and to surrender more. This in effect serves to redefine normal, and grow their capacity.
These first three elements make up the context in which we grow. Finally, we can observe that content too plays a part.
Jesus had clear instructions and parameters for His followers to adhere to. These guidelines, like river banks that keep the flow of water in the right direction, are obviously a crucial part of the development process.
Good thinking, accurate theology, and practical wisdom will always be important in our growth. Romans 12:2 clearly states that we are transformed by the renewing of the way we think. We just need to be aware that truth alone will not change us in the absence of obedience.
Our courses use quite pointed and principle-based teaching that can be applied to almost any life. The teaching is broken down into daily, bight-sized chunks that allow the participants to chew on and actually apply the concepts. Their weekly group meetings serve to consolidate these principles.
This is the power of a culture which combines Spirit & Truth. It allows you to embrace all the dynamics of transformation to genuinely release the people you lead.
The materials you find on this site are designed to utilise all four of these dynamics to bring whole-person change to people’s lives.
We can train you and your leaders in how to use them, or have you join one of our cohorts.