Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
R. Thomas Ashbrook
Richard Foster states, “The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”1 But how do we understand what it means to be a “deep person?” We need a description of what a deep relationship looks like and a model of the spiritual growth process that makes that possible. A spiritual formation model is a tool designed to identify the organic process of growth for the believer in Christ and describe how that believer might tunnel into the depths of maturity by partnering with the Holy Spirit. As a Pentecostal, I have not found a developed and systematic model for personal spiritual formation which adequately addresses a Pentecostal context and integrates both formational and Pentecostal experience. The lack of such a model represents a serious impediment for Pentecostals. An understanding and identification of the spiritual formation process provides the necessary foundation for recognizing and cooperating with the ongoing maturation process to which the Lord calls each of us. When we fail to understand our relative place in the journey, we can easily misunderstand God’s work in and through us. Leaders can also fail to adequately equip and support the spiritual development of those within their care. Spiritual formation for the Pentecostal context is significant for a number of reasons including: the size of the movement, the unique style of expression, and the trajectory of its influence.2 The potential danger, perceived by some leaders, in developing a Pentecostal formation model might be a perceived attempt to confine or limit the role of the Holy Spirit to one’s understanding. In the model presented here, however, the Spirit’s role is not to be confined, but rather described in order to better cooperate with what God is doing. Both biblical tradition and Church tradition have shown us many areas in which the Holy Spirit consistently produces spiritual growth and maturity in the believer. Pentecostals require a unique spiritual formation model due to the exceptional nuances of expression in the movement. Therefore, this thesis will also define Pentecostalism in terms of expression in order to differentiate it from other denominational paradigms. Based on my research of these traditions, this paper will focus on the following expressions of Pentecostalism: (1) a life on mission, (2) a spirit-gifted life, (3) a life of holiness, (4) a life at war, (5) a spirit led life, and (6) a life of encounter. With focus on these expressions, it will become clear that spiritual maturity therefore leads to: (1) greater motivation for mission, (2) increased power through spiritual gifts, (3) new depths of holiness, (4) greater understanding in how to combat the enemy, and (5) increased awareness to the promptings and activity of the Holy Spirit. To date, this research has not found a classical formation model that adequately or directly addresses these foundational Pentecostal expressions. However, many classical models do include disciplines, texts, experiences and insights that, when properly synthesized, can address these expressions and therefore greatly benefit ministry in Pentecostal settings. The thesis will identify how those expressions are experienced throughout a Stage model that leads progressively from salvation to maturity. The resulting model will give insights that will enable Pentecostal churches and leaders to help guide and grow members toward maturity in a paradigm that is consistent with its philosophy and theology.
Sims, Jeremy Daniel, "Describing a Pentecostal Spirituality and Eploring these Expressions within a Spiritual Formation Model" (2013). Doctor of Ministry. 120.