Christian Formation may sound to some like an invitation to a deeply mystical experience with God. Others may associate it with a predominantly Roman Catholic form of spirituality. In truth, its essence derives from Paul’s distressed comment to the fledgling church at Galatia: “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Galatians 4:19). Paul longed for and labored to see the very character of the Lord Jesus deeply manifest in the hearts of those who entrusted themselves to Him. So fundamental to our identity is that process of maturation, and yet so difficult to see it come to fruition—as difficult as suffering the pains of childbirth to see new life brought forth.
Jesus’ metaphor of choice when speaking of Christian Formation is, of course, from agriculture. He refers to Himself as the vine and those following Him as the branches. He is their nourishment, their very life. He is their only hope of manifesting what He intends. That dependence is at the heart of Formation, and Jesus summarizes it even more succinctly in a single word—abide. To abide is to become so deeply enamored with the love of God that one cannot help but seek to manifest that love. Abiding in the love the Father has shown Jesus (John 15:9) inevitably inspires a love for one another (15:12) and the world, which He calls “bearing much fruit” (15:8). So Christian Formation is an invitation to learn true abiding, feeding on the love of God so that one may be freed to love the world as God has loved us.
Simply put, the Christian Formation ministry at PCPC exists to cultivate that true abiding. It composes weekly reflections on what it means to commune with God and how such communion shapes our priorities and plans. It contributes oversight to the offerings of our PCPC bookstore and library and to the curricular choices of PCPC’s educational ministries. It provides regular opportunities to deepen our members’ knowledge of the Word of God. It hosts times of extended prayer. And it sponsors events meant to spur one another on to love and good works. Ultimately, though, it seeks to supplement the rest of PCPC’s ministries, aiding their efforts in cultivating true abiding.
Finally, as Christian Formation is a lifelong work in progress, our ministry remains ever-reforming.