Category Archives: Testimonies

The Pressures of Life and Ministry

“I came to the Spiritual Development Forum at a critical time in my life. Somewhere along the way the pressures of life and ministry succeeded in overwhelming me and I had lost my way. All the right answers I had accumulated over years of ministry weren’t working anymore. The Forum and Bob’s teachings from the contemplative tradition helped reorient me. I came to see that God had an infinite supply of love to show me, not by taking me out of my struggles but by revealing his love to me through them. The Forum has helped ground me in a deeper spirituality far more stable than I have ever known. I highly recommend this path and the Forum as a guide to walking it.”

— Don Golden

Don Golden is the co-author of Jesus Wants to Save Christians: A Manifesto for the Church in Exile (with Rob Bell) and served as senior vice president of church engagement at World Relief in Baltimore, Maryland. His passion to help churches help the poor and oppressed has taken him to more than 60 countries. He also served as lead pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church from 2005 to 2008. Don and his wife, Lynn, have three daughters, Emily, Olivia, and Sophie and a dog named Buckwheat.

Why God Designed Me To Be Who I Am

As a church planter, and a Follower of Christ I have found the church lacking in it’s means to develop disciples that live out of a deeply rooted sense of relationship with God.  As a child and teenager my spirituality was little, to none existent.  When I came to know Christ at 18, I was longing to connect relationally to my Creator and I found hope in a Savior that would give His life for me and in surrendering myself to His deep love.  I yearned for, and strived to find and cultivate, a deep relationship with God, but church attendance, Bible studies, and even seminary failed to deliver.  I knew a lot about God, but still didn’t feel like I knew Him in a relational way.

The Spiritual Development Forum is led by people who are passionate about God and people, they are living proof that an ever growing intimacy with God is possible, and during my two year journey of development I was given: the opportunity to experiment with the ancient spiritual disciplines; practical exercises that helped me to understand how and why God designed me to be who I am, and most importantly, I was given very real means of falling more in love with God and experiencing His never ending love for me.

Rob Benson – Lead Pastor
Matt’s House Church a Re-Construction Zone



Matti’s Creed

I have been practicing the Christian faith for over 40 years. When I heard about the Spiritual Development forum, privately and foolishly I thought to myself that there would be little to gain by participating. What I did not appreciate was the eclectic, patchwork nature of  my world view .  SDF helped me to rewrite my narrative.   I actually wrote down a personal statement of faith from an amalgamation of SDF seminars.

SDF enabled me to reorganize my thoughts.  It even reworked my emotional life. Beginning with some of the first lectures, I was reminded from 1st Corinthians 13 that love is the foundational  element for everything else.  I realized through the study of the Enneagram that for  someone from the first Triad ,  like me, revitalizing an awareness of God’s love is critical. So my first step of my SDF Journey was to refocus on God’s love in order to fight off some of my perfectionist tendencies.

Using that framework The Forum next took me through a reworking of the process sometimes referred to as the Dark Night of the senses and spirit.  I was aware that there were items in my life competing for God’s love. I identified two in particular.  I needed to be cleansed of those other “lovers”, as I began to realize I am not who I had come to think of myself over the years.

In the end I created a personal creed,  “Matti’s Creed “. I pull it out and read it from time to time. It is a great Refresher. It is highly personal and highly reflective. It is just what I needed at this point in my life. I don’t even know what prompted me to write it down. I cling to my personal Creed as it keeps me grounded in the basic elements of faith essential to my unique situation. I’m grateful to have it. I’m grateful to the Spiritual Development Forum.

M.M. Paavola
2015 MAJ Trial Lawyer of Year
2015 Daily Record Leader in the Law Winner


Notice and Wonder

We are proud to be a huge fan of Nicole Mills.  She is an assistant Spiritual Director here at The Meadow.  Nicole has started her own ministry that is highlighted in this awesome website and blog.

“I went through a spiritual wilderness, a Dark Night of the Soul. It was perhaps the hardest thing I’ve gone through.  After many, many months of struggling to find God, I had a dream that restored my hope and confirmed that He had been present all along. Sometimes it seems like darkness because He is so close to us that we are blinded by His light. He was and still is closer to me than my breath.” nicole

Please take the time and check it out!