At North Hills, we believe that each person who has committed himself or herself to following Jesus Christ is called to develop the character of Christ within them. Such characteristics would include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. This character developing process is often referred as spiritual formation or character formation. For centuries, Christians have believed that practicing certain “formation exercises” can lead to the transformation of our heart and mind so that they reflect the heart and mind of Jesus Christ. The purpose for reforming our character is so that our inner life resembles the inner life of Jesus, and if our inner life resembles Jesus’, then our outer life should follow. So, our goal is to have Jesus formed in us so that we will do what Jesus would do if he were us.
The spiritual transformation process works very similar to physical transformation. In order to form your body you workout by exercising your muscles. You run, lift weights, eat right (okay, you just run and lift weights). This physical process brings about a transformation of your body. Your muscles get stronger and your body gets healthier. The same kind of thing happens with the formation of our character. We practice certain character formation exercises that are intended to help us develop Christ-like characteristics within us. Some of these exercises include: the study of scripture; meditation on scripture; prayer; worship; serving others (especially the poor and disadvantaged); solitude (spending time alone); self-reflection; giving; having fun, and so on.
At North Hills, we believe that the spiritual formation process happens best when we are in accountable and authentic relationships. We believe that our connection with other Christ-followers helps us to identify areas in our lives that need renewal. We also believe that accountable relationships provide the support we need to begin the renewal process and stick to it. Proverbs 27:17 says that just as iron sharpens iron, so one person can sharpen another. Therefore, we strongly encourage the people of North Hills to develop relationships with one another. One of the best ways we’ve found for people to get connected is by participating in a small group.
Throughout the year we offer a variety of small groups, and twice a year (fall and winter) we offer specific small groups which center around a particular topic or book. We strongly encourage you to join one of these groups if you haven’t already.