There is a lot of talk about transformation and changing lives these days. What does that mean and what does it take to make it happen. Webster defines transformation as “the act of changing in character or condition” or “change in outward form or appearance.” When looking at these two definitions, the world tends to focus on the change that is outward and visible. But those who know Christ understand that His transformation happens in the deepest recesses of the heart.
By watching how Christ brought about transformation, particularly among the disciples, we can quickly see that all spiritual transformation takes place in the arena of relationship. I see this in two ways – relationship with Christ and the Father, but equally important, relationship with other believers. Deep change within our hearts requires both the work of the Holy Spirit, along with the support of the Body of Christ that gives mutual care and support.
It is popular today to be a ‘transformational leader’. This is a buzz term largely coming out of the business community. However, it is also the goal of the spiritual leader, but in a totally different way. As spiritual leaders, we are called to be under-shepherds of those God entrusts to us with Christ remaining as the Head Shepherd. Our calling is not to bring or cause transformation, but to work with Christ to create the conditions, support and care by which He can work freely within people’s lives and hearts. Once again, it is NOT our job to transform. That is exclusively the work of Christ.
To see this happen, the leader must accept two realities. The first is that transformation must be taking placing in his or her own life. We cannot shepherd others towards spiritual transformation without abiding in Christ and He in us (John 15). His abiding presence in us creates the context for ongoing, daily transformation. As we understand and embrace this in our own lives, then we can begin to allow Christ to lead us in how we can support transformation in the lives of others.