LONDON - During the 40 days before Easter, the Salvation Army Churches throughout the UK and Ireland have expressed their commitment to adopt the Purpose Driven Life course with an aim to boost the overall spiritual growth of the Church.
Purpose Driven Life, written by the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, has been very popular among Christians and non-Christians in the world. The idea of the Purpose Driven Life is basically a 40-day spiritual journey in discovering the real meaning of life through God. According to Pastor Rick Warren, real meaning and significance of life comes from understanding and fulfilling Gods purposes for putting us on earth.
Such a journey not only helps people to realize the meaning of life, but in a wider extent, it also guides the church to be purpose-driven - to rediscover its purpose to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission from the words of Jesus.
Warren identifies five eternal purposes necessary for spiritual growth: men are planned for God's pleasure; formed to be part of his family; created to become like Christ; shaped to serve God; and made for a mission.
It is reported that more than 300 Salvation Army Churches have already completed and benefited from the 40-day course.
Captain Paul Wilson, from The Salvation Army's Hastings corps, which has already run a successful course, commented, "The effect this has had on the corps can be measured by the spiritual impact on individuals. [Our church] has turned a corner and God has his hand firmly placed on the corps. The Holy Spirit is moving among the congregation, challenging and encouraging us to work together in a more positive way."
The three elements of the 40 Days of Purpose course are worship, small group discussion and personal study. The course can be likened to a journey and six worship meetings in Lent lead to a celebration Sunday on Easter Day.
In small groups, church members will study Sunday messages at a deeper level and with reference to specific Bible passages. The heart of the journey is the personal study, where people are encouraged to read The Purpose Driven Life and think about God's purpose for their lives on a daily basis. Participants also memorize a Bible verse each week.