What is Faithwalking?
Faithwalking is a spiritual formation process with the end goal of joining God on mission in the world. We believe that Jesus exemplified the fully human, fully alive life by working side by side with his Father to restore things to their intended design. Because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we also can enter into this kind of life with the Father! Believing this, we seek to form a community of disciples who actually do the things Jesus did.
The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. (John 14:12, The Message)
Many of us are aware of this calling, this invitation to the abundant life, but something keeps us from living into it. The Faithwalking 101 retreat is an opportunity to begin exploring what that ‘something’ is.
This is not a pep rally calling you to ‘try harder’ – most of us are already trying as hard as we possibly can. Instead, it’s the chance to view our spiritual lives from a completely different perspective and to consider the possibility that we will never be free to live in missional obedience until we give God’s Spirit access to the hidden and broken places in our hearts.
Jesus declared, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)
How does it work?
The task is not to inform the disciple, or student, about things that Jesus believed, taught, and practiced. Usually that will already have been done, and more of that alone will be of very little use. The student will already possess almost all of the correct information…But what the information they have actually represents does not form a part of their real life. In their bodily and social being they continue to be ready to act as though it were not true, even though in their conscious affirmations they accept it. (Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy)
The Faithwalking model is based on the assumption that knowledge alone does not transform. We believe that transformation is the result of giving the Spirit access to our brokenness in the context of loving community. When we do this over a period of time, we experience lasting transformation. Flowing out of this belief, Faithwalking operates around a cycle of information, action, and reflection. Participants are given a manageable amount of information, asked to put that information into practice, and then given the opportunity to reflect on the experience. This cycle repeats again and again throughout the process until what was once new and difficult and awkward becomes natural and even inevitable.
The 101 Retreat: This Fri.-Sun. retreat centers around Jesus’ call to mission and gives participants the opportunity to begin exploring how and why they have failed to respond to His call. This failure is not seen as reason for condemnation; rather, it is seen as the natural consequence of wounds we’ve received throughout our lives. Our impulse is to hide these broken places, but it is actually by bringing them into the light that we receive God’s healing and are freed to follow Him. The retreat consists of a series of presentations in which participants are challenged to think about familiar concepts (mission, integrity, authenticity, etc.) in a new and different way. Each presentation is followed by a time of solitude where participants are encouraged to wrestle through these questions with God, and each time of solitude is followed by a small group discussion where participants are given the opportunity to authentically share what God is showing them about themselves.
The 201 Series: Those who have completed the 101 retreat may participate in a 12-session series in which they get to practice the concepts from the retreat over the course of six months. Participants gather once every two weeks to hear content and reflect on their experiences. After each session, participants are assigned weekly practice exercises designed to get them into action around what they are learning. Additionally, each participant commits to having a weekly conversation with a coach, who helps them reflect on the challenges of the practice exercises. One of the foundational assignments is to design a “spiritual workout” – i.e. a set of daily, weekly, and occasional practices that cultivate intimacy with God and enable participants to break through patterns of disobedience. Throughout the process, participants are challenged to think about where God might be calling them to join Him on mission and to consider what ingrained “ways of being” stand as barriers to that call. The 201 series equips participants with a set of tools that allows them to confront these barriers and begin walking in freedom, authenticity, and obedience.
The 301 Community: Still in development, the 301 Learning Community is a place for those who have begun to experience personal transformation and are ready to join God on mission. Each participant seeks to join or start a “missional community” – i.e. a group of people journeying together in authentic community who are working to restore God’s intended design in a specific place and/or among a specific people. Each month, participants gather to wrestle with questions like What is God’s intended design for my neighborhood? What does it look like to love people who are really different from me? How can I work with someone who has a completely different set of beliefs? Additionally, participants engage in small group coaching sessions where they encourage one another and seek help with challenges they face.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and/or register your interest here.