It’s one thing to tell someone they need to grow spiritually, it’s another thing to show them how.
FORMA is Jacob Well’s spiritual formation initiative designed to equip one another to develop a rhythm of daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal practices that build, strengthen and nourish the soul. All our programing is filtered through this lens. We are purposefully and practically working to cultivate healthy and maturing disciples that will love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.
Prayer and Bible Reading Helps:
Most people think prayer and reading the Bible is important but don’t quite know how to develop a consistent and meaningful practice of doing either. FORMA seeks to help you learn the ancient way to practice nourishing your faith with prayer and scripture. Below are a couple APPs to help facilitate this:
Download the Daily Prayer App which is based on The Book of Common Prayer: here
Download The Daily Office App: the prayer offices from The Book of Common Prayer: here
Download the ‘Pray As You Go’ App: here
Pilgrimage is an important historical practice of the Christian Faith. Early saints used to travel to the Holy Land or to some other special place that holds meaning to the faith. In modern times it’s morphed into what we call “Retreats” or “Camps” special times and places that we travel to in order to seek God together.
Jacob’s Well has hosted retreats at:
Schweitzer Chapel at Mt. Schweitzer, Idaho
St. Gertrudes Monastery and Retreat Center in Idaho (next one is September 28-29-30-Oct 1st 2023 (Thursday-Sunday)
Mt. Angel Abbey and Retreat House in Oregon
As part of FORMA we will provide opportunities to join us on a trip to one or all of these for our Prayer Retreats. Dates and Prices will be posted when scheduled.
The Goal of our FORMA Initiative is spiritual maturity.
“My dear children, I feel the pains of birth upon me again, and I will continue in labor for you until Christ is formed completely in you.” Galatians 4:19
We are instructed by Jesus to make disciples.
Matthew 28:18-20 “Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
St. Augustine wrote: “Human beings are conceived and given shape by their mothers, and once they have taken shape, their mothers go into labor and give them birth; so we may wonder what is meant by I must go through the pain of giving birth to you all over again, until Christ is formed in you. We can take the birth-pangs as meaning the anxiety he felt over them, that they should be born in Christ; or again, that he is suffering because he sees them surrounded by dangers that could lead them astray. The care and worry he feels, which he compares to the pangs of giving birth, may last until they are fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself, not tossed one way and another and carried along by every wind of doctrine. Hence it is not about the beginnings of faith that St Paul is speaking, the faith by which they were born, but about the strengthening and perfecting of that faith: I must go through the pain of giving birth to you all over again, until Christ is formed in you.”
The Ancient Roots of Catechesis
The word catechesis comes from the Greek word katēcheō, which means simply to teach or instruct. It appears some eight times in the New Testament—four by Luke (Luke 1:4; Acts 18:25; 21:21, 24) and four by Paul (Rom. 2:18, 1 Cor. 14:19; Gal. 6:6, where it occurs twice)—usually to refer to a more general notion of instruction.
In the first few centuries of the church, however, it took on a more specific meaning. It came to describe the particular kind of instruction involved in preparing new believers for Baptism.
In our FORMA Initiative one of the tools we use is the The New City Catechism .
Our goal is for every member of JWC to know the foundational truth of the faith and be able to share it with others. Catechism is an old and kinda odd word that simply means the process by which we seek to help new believers and hungry Christians grow in their faith through an understanding of the central truths of the Christian faith.
1 Timothy 1:5 “Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.”
2 Timothy 2:2: “You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.”