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Lis Van Harten
(First appeared in the March 2010 issue of Ministry Reports to Classes and Councils.)
Transformation is an important part of the Reformed faith. It involves the act or desire to change; to make progress towards a greater goal. Just as no two people are the same, neither are paths of transformation. SPE is careful to acknowledge this. As pastors seek to gather together as peer groups, they’re pretty much given free reign as to what they can focus on. To prescribe a number of options to choose from would result in much lower participation and boundaries within which transformation could take place.
SPE encourages creativity. Pastors are given the freedom to decide what makes their hearts sing. It’s an opportunity for them to dream. For many this is a new experience. Having attended seminary where they learn what’s taught, being able to design their own learning is exciting, freeing, and at times overwhelming. It encourages pastors to pick up a book again—something the seminary gets excited about). A book they choose and SPE pays for it—something the pastors get excited about.
What are the results of this permission to plan their learning? Renewed, refreshed, encouraged, supported, and transformed pastors. Here’s what a couple of pastors have said: “We would all agree that at each of our peer group meetings something unexplainable happens as we share and discuss and pray.” “The peer group set in motion a season of personal, spiritual, and professional revitalization.”
Transformation at work? You bet!