We're focused on building the Saint John's community from the ground up--first, strengthening each individual's spiritual growth, and second, doing the work of Christ in the world.

As you can see, SOULWorks starts with you. The process is simple:

S   -  Survey your current level of spiritual growth
O  -  Own your spiritual journey
U  -  Uncover new ways you can continue your spiritual growth
L   -  Live in these new ways such that you do the work of Christ

Of course, you're not alone. Saint John's joins you in this journey--reflecting, optimizing and incorporating resources and methods to help each and every member thrive in their spiritual journey.

At Saint John's, we believe these four steps are part of an ongoing cycle of introspection, conversation, and action that propels us toward greater spiritual growth as individuals and as a parish. 

The SOULWorks Vision of Spiritual Growth

The groundbreaking work of RenewalWorks (see history, below) looked at spiritual growth through the eyes of 3,000 Episcopalians, trying to identify those things that get people moving spiritually. Out of their analysis emerged a picture of a spiritual continuum. We each move along that continuum as we grow in love of God and love of others. 

All along... the continuum, everyone is on a spiritual journey toward greater intimacy with Christ and greater sacrificial love of others. The journey can be a wandering one, moving forward in fits and starts. Sometimes we become stuck or circle back along the path to any earlier stage. No one ever ‘arrives’ at the pinnacle of spiritual growth—the joy is in the journey.
— Footsteps, p. 9

Where Do You Come In?

Remember the four step process? Let's dig a little deeper into your role here.

S   -  Survey your current level of spiritual growth
O  -  Own your spiritual journey
U  -  Uncover new ways you can continue your spiritual growth
L   -  Live in these new ways such that you do the work of Christ

[With the survey], we will reflect on our personal spiritual growth...to see where are and what we need to grow...in personal relationship with God. [It] will inform which next steps we need to take in addition to deepening the roots we’ve begun growing already.
— Kat Gordon

S: It all begins with the SURVEY; more precisely, it all begins with a turn inwards and an honest look inside yourself.  Not only is the survey a powerful tool for self-examination, it helps Saint John's parish clearly define what we need to focus on to best achieve strong spiritual growth as individuals and as a community.

As a member of Saint John’s since my baptism more than 50 years ago, I really wanted to see Saint Johns be that place, where people would come and be accountable to each other in our lives in Christ. Then after making a commitment to help Saint John’s become that kind of place, I joined a Bible Study group and began the Bible challenge. I am about 2/3rds through the Old Testament and look forward to getting all the way through.
— Kim Mullins

O: It's time to OWN it! Deciding that you are in the driver's seat of your own spiritual journey, you are flying the plane, and that no one else can make it happen for you is a powerful and critical step in the SOULWorks process. This commitment from earnest people of faith then becomes transformative for our community. 

U: The individual work now shifts to a community effort as a task force of parishioners engages in a series of workshops as they analyze the survey results and seek to UNCOVER and develop those initiatives that enable our relationships with God, ourselves, and each other to thrive. It's not about "new programs and sexy marketing," but rather "a return to [the] simpler fundamentals" of Action, Piety, and Study (Kat Gordon).

L: Finally, it is time for each of us to LIVE into these initiatives: group and individual Bible Study, servant ministry in the community, pilgrimage at the SOULWorks Spiritual Weekend, Ancient Practices like fasting and constant prayer. Through taking these on as part of our discipleship in Christ, we begin to transform ourselves in his image.

 

A Brief History of SOULWorks

SOULWorks is an ongoing process for personal and parish-wide spiritual renewal at Saint John's. SOULWorks at Saint John’s was adapted from the work done at RenewalWorks, a spiritual growth ministry developed under the leadership of The Rev. Jay Sidebotham at Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest, IL and the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago. RenewalWorks is now housed within Forward Movement, a ministry of the National Episcopal Church, and continues to grow under the direction of Rev. Sidebotham as it works to renew the spiritual vitality of congregations across the United States. RenewalWorks itself is based on the Reveal Process developed at Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, IL in 2005.