I made a startling discovery during my early years in ministry. Most people do not have any interest in what grade point average you earned during your seminary training. What matters to them is whether or not you have a living connection with God. Is your life being transformed and can you help them on their journeys of personal transformation?
A lack of spiritual vitality in the life of the pastor can be devastating personally, for the pastoral family, and also for the church. Too many pastors drop out of ministry, not because their salaries were inadequate, but because they felt spiritually depleted. Too many children from pastoral families walk away from church because they do not see practiced what is preached. That is why Your Daily Journey to Transformation: A 12-Week Study Guide and the companion book Transformation are such important resources for any Christian leader.
Written for a Seventh-day Adventist readership, the authors’ stated purpose is to help you honestly assess your personal relationship with God and move forward on a journey of transformation, enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. When you pick up a copy of the 12-week study guide and companion book, your first reaction might be to rejoice that you have discovered a valuable resource for families and small groups in your congregation. Helpful topics include “Revival and Transformation,” “Fruitful Abiding,” and “Becoming New.”
But before you rush off and order 100 copies and lay plans to launch 15–20 small groups in your church, consider taking your own family on this 12-week journey. Take time together to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from Him. Let your witness begin “in Jerusalem,” right where you live.
The presentations in the 12-week study guide are Scripture based and interactive. Questions are simple enough for every member of the family to participate and activities are practical and interesting. The authors provide five studies for each of the 12 units, allowing you some flextime during the busiest days of your week.
Once you have taken this 12-week journey yourself, you might want to encourage others in your congregation to take a similar journey. You can offer counsel and direction based upon your own experience with these resources.
As the host and producer of the popular television series Making Waves, Jim’s travels have taken him to more than 60 countries around the world. In his companion book Transformation, he shares some remarkable testimonies from individuals whose lives have been transformed. Those testimonies will bless your heart. I do have one complaint that might be addressed in a second printing of the study guide and companion book. The 12 units of the interactive study guide do not clearly parallel the 19 chapters of the book. For example, chapters 5 and 7 in the book (From Danger to Safety, Part 1 and Part 2) parallel unit 4 (From Danger to Safety) in the study guide. Chapter 15 (Abiding in a Forever Relationship) parallels unit 10 (Fruitful Abiding). But the correlations are not always so clear. Some simple notations at the beginning of each chapter in the book and in each unit of the study guide would be helpful. Hopefully, this lack of clarity can be corrected in a subsequent printing.
Jim and Janene Ayer remind us that the day is coming when God will “make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Fortunately, we do not need to wait until that great day to experience personal transformation, for God’s life-changing work can be experienced even today.
Reviewed by Derek J. Morris, DMin, editor, Ministry.