Among the smiling faces in church on Sunday mornings are those who long for deeper, more genuine relationships within their local congregations–active, intentional relationships that nurture the soul, foster spiritual growth, and move past surface pleasantries into the real joys and heartaches of life. In a society that is increasingly fragmented, they are looking for a place to simply belong–to come home to other people and to God.
Pastors and lay leaders may use the increasingly popular language of spiritual formation and spiritual practices, yet they struggle to germinate a culture of honest conversation about the life of faith. Drawing on decades of experience in spiritual direction, congregational ministry, and seminary teaching, this book offers a clear and rich introduction to the theology and practice of spiritual companioning in the Protestant tradition.
“Everyone who ventures into a church today is looking for more than simply an hour of spiritual entertainment. From the depths of their souls rises a yearning to be part of a truly spiritual community, to be knit together with other seekers of holiness. This book unfolds how it can happen.” – Craig Barnes, president, Princeton Theological Seminary
“The authors of this book have rightly discerned that life, church, and community are about relationships. They have outlined those crucial phases of life where companionship is desperately needed. Writing in a personal and passionate way, these sensitive authors offer insight and guidance for modern, growing disciples.” – Ben Campbell Johnson, Columbia Theological Seminary
“A comprehensive, well-rounded exploration of the ways spiritual guidance can become an animating vision for healthy congregations and their leaders…This book could be a stimulating guidebook for discussions among pastors and lay leaders, in Christian formation committees, or in seminary classrooms. Readers will be inspired by the clarity and simplicity of this vision, which is nothing less than a return to the pulsing heart of the gospel: loving God, neighbor, and self.” – Marlene Kropf, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
Angela H. Reed (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is assistant professor of practical theology and director of spiritual formation at Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, in Waco, Texas.
Richard R. Osmer (PhD, Emory University) is Ralph B. and Helen S. Ashenfelter Professor of Mission and Evangelism at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. He is the author of several books, including Practical Theology: An Introduction and The Teaching Ministry of Congregations.
Marcus G. Smucker (1931-2014; PhD, The Union Graduate School) was known as a pastor, teacher, spiritual advisor, and conflict mediator. He taught at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Eastern Mennonite Seminary.
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