Recently I read of reasons why candidates perform poorly in job interviews. The list included a limp handshake, being over-bearing, condemnation of past employers and being poorly presented for the interview. No surprises here.

I’m wondering though about what features contribute to spiritual formation experiences being successful or otherwise, that is, the opposite of the ‘limp handshake’.

I can’t find any published information on this topic but I’m ‘borrowing’ a few thoughts gleaned from research into effective teacher professional development. (Guskey & Kwang Suk, 2009)

  1. The workshop style works by focusing on substantial ideas, including active-learning experiences, and providing opportunities to relate ideas and practices to daily life.
  2. Outside experts work when they have credibility and experience and they present ideas directly to participants and then facilitate implementation.
  3. Time works, not because doing ineffective things longer makes them any better but effective formation requires considerable time, and that time must be well organized, carefully structured, purposefully directed, and focused on relevant content or practices or both.
  4. Follow up works, structured and sustained follow-up after the main formation activity has a compounding effect and enables transformation
  5. There is no one best practice that works but careful adaptation of varied practices to the specific content, process, and contextual elements does work.
  6. Content that participants understand to have relevance and purpose works.

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this issue. After all we would all love to provide effective spiritual formation more consistently.
Comments welcome by email or blog.

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