Feel like you’re neglecting your own spiritual life?
Find out why Spurgeon's College has opened a Centre for Spirituality
Do you feel like you’re neglecting your own spiritual life? You’re not alone.
Andrew Fuller, the pioneering secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society who died 200 years ago, once lamented that in the midst of his demanding ministry he was “neglecting” his own walk with God.
Fast forward to the frenetic 21st century and the need for quality time with God is arguably even greater than it was back in Fuller’s day.
It’s a need recognised by Spurgeon’s College, which recently opened a “Centre for Spirituality”.
The Centre has a number of aims, including wanting to offer refreshment to those in ministry; resource churches who want to explore issues of spirituality; promote fresh thinking on the practice of spirituality which is both creative and rooted in the evangelical tradition; and – in time – encourage training in spiritual direction.
The first initiative launched is a regular Quiet Day: having started in May, the College now opens its doors one Friday every month to anyone who wants to take some time out and connect more deeply with God. The next two days are on 19 June and 17 July.
The day is based around three services, and participants are given a guest bedroom for the day which can be used as their own quiet space.
‘It’s exciting to have a centre where we can host regular quiet days,’ explains College Vice Principal the Revd Dr Peter Morden, the Centre of Spirituality director. ‘It’s both for people who are close by and also those who can travel.
‘In taking time to pause and listen to God, we can have our eyes lifted above our present circumstances, our energy renewed and our ‘first love’ restored.’
As well as promoting Quiet Days, the Centre of Spirituality wants to engage in some deeper reflection on what is a crucial area of any Christian's life. As it develops, other initiatives will include conferences on spirituality, annual lectures, and the promotion of writing and research in Christian spirituality.
Peter has taught spirituality at the College for seven and a half years, alongside church history.
‘I’ve always had an interest in spirituality in terms of study and practice,' he says.
‘When people have full and complex lives, traditional disciplined habits of devotion become even more important. I think we all know that, but putting it into practice can be a challenge.
‘But if it is possible to prioritise an occasional day; clear the diary, switch off the mobile and reconnect with God in a more thorough way, that’s just of huge value.
He continues, ‘Christian spirituality is not just the inner dimension of ourselves, it’s also to do with how our devotion to God is expressed in ministry and mission. The Quiet Days not only help participants deepen communion with God, but also renew them for cutting-edge mission.’
This is what happened to the afore-mentioned Fuller – who is highlighted in the College literature introducing the Quiet Days. When he prioritised time with God, he found that his he received resources for ministry and mission.
‘He was most effective as a man of action when he was first and foremost a man of prayer,' says Peter. 'We are most effective as women and men of God when we have the same priority.’