Transformation Before My Eyes
“See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light; can you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:19, The Jerusalem Bible)
As a former long-term pastor of a congregation, I had the honor of witnessing occasional spiritual transformation in the lives of congregants. Generally, the changes were more gradual than sudden, more subtle than dramatic, more confined to individuals and small groups than congregation-wide. I can still recall painful seasons of ministry when signs of spiritual formation seemed few and far between. Even so, it was the occasional fruit of transformation that fueled my desire to keep on keeping on.
Now perhaps you can understand the euphoria I feel as I witness multiple examples of breathtaking spiritual transformation emerging from the nine quarterly retreats of a typical Transforming Community®. Isaiah 43:19 has new meaning for me as I observe God doing new deeds of transformation in dramatic fashion right before my eyes!
Recently, I saw fresh evidence of God’s new deeds as I participated in the final Transforming Center retreat of the latest Transforming Community. For a variety of reasons, I participated in only two retreats of this Baltimore community—the first and the last. The change I observed in individuals—and the entire community—between the first and last retreats was staggering!
Perhaps the best way to communicate this change is to share comments made by retreatants as they reflected together about the significance of their two years in community. When Ruth Haley Barton, the community teacher, invited them to speak, the floodgates opened!
Here’s a brief sampling of comments from various church and organizational leaders:
“My life is no longer based on performance, but on God’s presence.”
“You can be vulnerable here…this is true community.”
“Two years ago my soul was drowning. This community has resuscitated my soul.”
“I’ve noticed how many of us have changed in posture and appearance…including me!”
“Before coming to this community I concluded that my life in ministry was not sustainable…now I’m hopeful about ministry again.”
“Watching God work among us has been a beautiful thing.”
“In many ways, I feel that this whole experience was just a beginning for me as I continue to walk out the things we learned and practiced together. I’ve told many that I don’t know how you all pull off all you do in the less than 48-hour-period that we are together. We experienced unbelievable teaching, wonderful meal times, deep times of prayer and communion with God and together, rich small groups, times of silence and solitude, and plenty of time for rest! Obviously, you are being led by the Holy Spirit, and he multiplies and orders the steps of our time through you during those two days of retreat.”
Talk about music to my soul!! So much transformation on so many levels over a comparatively brief period of time…before my very eyes!
If you are a church leader who has given up on spiritual transformation—including your own—I urge you to consider joining us for Transforming Community.
Doing so could literally change your life…and transform your soul.
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