Mindy: I like Eugene Peterson’s writing… (especially the shorter ones!) and Larry Crabb’s stuff that relates to transformation in community. Jan Johnson is also strong, and of course Ruth Haley Barton. Scot McKnight has a fantastic book on fasting… and many other topics besides… Some of those dead guys, like Thomas Kelly, have had a huge impact on my life. I haven’t actually read Keith Meyer or Todd Hunter’s new books, but they’re good friends and have many good things to say, so I suspect their writing is strong as well.
There’s a great magazine your readers would really like, Conversations Journal (www.conversationsjournal.com). I’m a section editor for them… really strong stuff!
Mark: What do you think are some practical ways that small group ministries can encourage formation practices in the lives of group members?
Mindy: What a ministry does when its leaders gather will definitely impact whatever formation practices might happen in a group and, then, what members of a group might do on their own time. If they are choosing curriculum for the ministry, they could choose ones that include meaningful assignments for folks to do between meeting times… as you said, there are more and more options like this being developed.
I find that since folks are sooo inexperienced with many forms of spiritual practices that it’s vital to create occasional environments when they can learn about and then DO a spiritual practice together. A practicum of sorts. The likelihood of them actually incorporating spiritual practices in their lives increases once they’ve experienced a few.
Mark: I know you’ve published several books, what are you working on now?
Mindy: I’ve actually got a few projects in the works… one explores the many connections between our physical bodies and the spiritual life… might be called, “Body of Faith”. Another develops the concept of Hebrews 12, running the race marked out for us, but focuses on the essential role of community in the process of transformation—how we run that race together.
I recently wrote a really brief piece for Leadership Journal on the idea of transformation in the church… I enjoyed writing it, since I was playing off the “Elgin-O’Hare” expressway, which I’ve learned goes neither to Elgin nor to O’Hare. Seems oddly like many mission statements I’ve developed and/or used over the years… It’s called, “Thruway or Partway?” That’s it for my writing now, though… I always have more ideas than time to write.
Mark: This is great, Mindy! Thanks for taking the time to share with all of us!