Serving from the inside out: a model for integrating contemplative spirituality with ministry activity at the first baptist church of Flushing, NY

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The focus of this project was the development and implementation of a model of personal spiritual formation that afforded the activity-oriented Christians at the First Baptist Church of Flushing a means to live more spiritually centered lives. To foster this spiritual centeredness, a spiritual formation handbook was developed using a modified version of the ancient practice of the daily office. The handbook was more rigorous than the typical "quiet time" commonly used by many Evangelicals. It afforded participants the opportunity to pause three times in a day to enter the presence of God through a variety of spiritual disciplines and exercises. A pilot group consisting of 42 members from the church was invited to use the handbook for a period of three months as a means of living more spiritually centered lives. Their feedback at a half-day retreat at the end of the project demonstrated that the handbook was a valuable instrument for them. Although the handbook was the project's core, other methods were used to awaken the entire congregation to the need to live spiritually centered lives to the glory of God, including a sermon series on the spiritual disciplines, the introduction of contemplative elements into our corporate worship experience, and the creation of a contemplative worship experience on the evening of Holy Thursday.  
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