Integral Approaches to Christian Ministry

Integral LifeArticle, Cognitive, Journal of Integral Theory & Practice, Ministry, Perspectives, Spirituality 1 Comment

This article presents an Integral (AQAL) framework for Christian Ministry. Quadrants, levels, lines, states, and types are introduced and situated within the historical framework of Christianity. I address important aspects of social and institutional contexts—family structure, family of origin, socioeconomic situation, work environment, and geographic location—as they affect the individual parishioner, religious, or minister, as these factors can profoundly impact an individual’s experience of the Divine. I propose that increasing differentiation is not substantively different than the ancient practice of discernment and advocate the application of an AQAL map (“all-quadrants, all-levels, all-lines, all-states, and all-types”) to explore the minister’s circumstances as well as those who come to them for spiritual nourishment. The paper concludes with examples of several typical ministerial situations mapped onto quadrants.

JOHN FORMAN, OblSB, is a Benedictine oblate of Mt. Angel Abbey, a Eucharistic minister and healing minister in the Anglican Communion. He has served on church vestries and in monastic advisory positions, and also as a spiritual and organizational counselor to numerous religious organizations, as well as to individual ordained, professed, and lay men and women. He has led multiple retreats and workshops focused on Integral Theory and methodology, Benedictine spirituality, Christian meditation, developmental approaches to faith and ministry, and discernment.

John has published several articles on these topics and has presented papers at the New England Complex Systems Institute and the International Society of Systems Sciences, and has published articles in numerous publications. He has lectured on Integral Theory at a number of organizations, including the National Defense University, the University of Washington, the International Leadership Association, St. Martin’s College and the Diocese of Olympia’s School of Theology.