In the New Testament, the word disciple means both learner and follower. As 21st-century disciples of Christ, one of our primary commitments is to be a learning community, continually growing in both our understanding and practice of the way of Jesus.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

We live out our commitments as a learning community by creating environments where we can learn the way of Jesus. These environments include Sunday morning teaching, triads or small group studies, structured conversations around essential spiritual practices, and a variety of other settings and contexts.

Not only are we concerned about growing in our understanding of the way of Jesus, we believe that God ultimately wants to transform our lives so that we reflect more of Christ to those we encounter on a daily basis. This process of transformation is classically known as spiritual formation, which Robert Mulholland defines as “the process of being conformed to the image of Christ by the gracious working of God’s spirit, for the transformation of the world.” 

The Apostle Paul was familiar with this process and described it with these words: “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

“Everyone is in a process of spiritual formation. We are being shaped into either the wholeness of the image of Christ or a horribly destructive caricature of that image—destructive not only to ourselves but also to others, for we inflict our brokenness upon them . . . The direction of our spiritual growth infuses all we do with intimations of either Life or Death.” (Robert Mulholland)