I got to take a look at a new book by Mindy Caliguire that I think you are going to really like. Even better, I think you’re going to figure out how to take full advantage of some very good content right away.
STIR: Spiritual Transformation in Relationships takes what I’d call a very fresh approach to spiritual formation and comes at this topic in a way that should catch the attention of small group ministry champions. I cracked open the book because I’ve found Mindy’s earlier contributions very helpful. I caught myself about 25 pages in thinking, “Wait…what? and started over from the introduction! Too good. Packed with very helpful ideas!
Drawing from the findings of Willow Creek’s Reveal study, STIR employs a framework based on the three “believer” stages in the research; the “primary shifts that mark the transition from one stage to another.” Taking a cue from Reveal, STIR refers to these three stages as learning together, journeying together, and following together. One of the fresh ideas in STIR is the reminder that these shifts happen best in relationship.
In addition to keying in on the three stages, STIR also draws out the significance “two essential relational elements that are necessary for each stage of development”: direction and discernment. To be honest, this is point that stopped me in my tracks and forced me to go back to the beginning.
- Direction refers to “the level of structure in a relationship–how much instruction and guidance are needed to support growth.”
- Discernment refers to “a more complex level of interaction where a person helps another by offering observations and wisdom in such a way that an individual is enabled to wisely make decisions without explicit direction or counsel.”
The essence of the concept of the two relational elements is that “there relative importance shifts as people mature, with the need for discernment increasing as the need for direction decreases.” This is a very helpful way of understanding why the Reveal research found small group involvement essential in the early stages of spiritual growth and less important in the latter stages.
Each of the stages is given a very thorough treatment, packed with discoveries that will immediately have you thinking about the implications for the work you are doing. There were several spots when I stopped reading and took my copy next door to show some aspect to another member of my team.
If you’re serious about building a ministry that actually develops environments and relationship where life-change happens, you’re going to want to add this book to your thinking. STIR: Spiritual Transformation in Relationships could be the ingredient that brings the breakthrough understanding you need in your ministry. (By the way, at least on the day I posted this review, STIR was available for $3.99 on Kindle!)