From suffering to holiness: a strategy for increasing faith through spiritual disciplines
Christian Denominations and Sects
International and Intercultural Communication
Interpersonal and Small Group Communication
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AbstractThis ministry project introduces the Oakland Spanish SDA Church to the practice of the spiritual disciplines of Lectio Divina and Bible study in the context of small groups. An inner-city Latino congregation of about four hundred members, the church has been tested by many adverse circumstances that have caused members to question the presence of God in their lives. The objective of this project is that by practicing communion and intimacy with God through these spiritual disciplines, holiness becomes a reality in this struggling congregation. In order to achieve that, a step-by-step process has been established that begins with sharing the vision and implementing the specific aspects of the program, which include: recruiting, forming small groups, selecting small group leaders, and training. For the development of this program, a number of relevant books have been selected that will form and sustain all the aspects of this program. This literature includes titles from authors such as Richard Peace, Roberta Hestenes, Gareth Icenogle, Norvene Vest, and Jeffrey Arnold, among others. The hopeful outcome of this ministry project is a congregation that sees its struggles in a new light and realizes that pain and suffering are opportunities to get more intimate with God, a congregation with a new perspective on life that has learned to trust God even in the midst of severe testing. The examples of the psalmist Asaph in Psalm 73 and the Apostle Paul in Philippians have served as models of how to achieve this new perspective.