A Chat With Randy Harris About the Spiritual Deepening Program (Mar-Apr 2007)

By Matt Dabbs

by Greg Taylor
March – April, 2007

The ZOE Group is pleased to bring you two programs for spiritual formation in life and ministry.

The ZOE Growing Deeper Spirituality Program is for those wanting spiritual direction in their life with God and the body of Christ. The ZOE Spiritual Direction Program is for those who want to move more deeply into the life of helping guide others in God’s way.

One of the co-directors of the program is Randy Harris, a great man of God and professor at Abilene Christian University, preacher and author.

New Wineskins Editor Greg Taylor spoke with Randy Harris recently about the programs . . . and a few other things that had nothing to do with the programs. We include our side conversations in the text to show you that we try not to take ourselves too seriously.

A talk with Randy Harris about ZOE’s new Spiritual Direction Program and ZOE’s Growing Deeper Spirituality Program

Tell me about the Spiritual Director Program. You mean I get to tell people what to do with their lives?

Randy HarrisRandy Harris: The irony is we are training spiritual directors and none of us are really qualified to “direct” another life . . . the heart of the program is that we both pay attention so God does the direction.

You and the other directors are not spiritual gurus?

Randy Harris: We have a non-guru approach.

You sure look like a guru, your shaved head, the little glasses bit you do before and after you talk. I like how you put them away in your Johnny Cash black jacket during your final point of a sermon.

Randy Harris: (smiles and perhaps chuckles a bit) We end the program with a ceremonial shaving of the head and uploading of Gregorian Chants to each participant’s iPod.

Come on, can’t you be serious? Hey, speaking of iPod, what’s on yours?

Randy Harris: Can’t you stay on the subject? Fauré Requiem, Pie Jesu.

Give me a break. What else is on your iPod?

Randy Harris: Raise your skinny fist like antennas to heaven by Godspeed you! Black Emperor.

Now, I’ve heard it all.

Randy Harris: I also have Spirit of Gregorian Chant.

No ZOE music?

Randy Harris: I don’t think there is . . . a few by Rich Mullins.

I like Rich Mullins . . . but you really don’t stay up on Christian music if the newest things you have are Rich Mullins and Gregorian Chant.

Randy Harris: (stares)

What’s your favorite VBS song?

Randy Harris: “I’ve got the Joy Joy Joy.”

Fair enough. The Cope/Harris version?

Randy Harris: Is there another version?

We were supposed to be talking about the Spiritual Direction Program. Who’s leading this interview?

Randy Harris: (stares again, saying nothing)

So tell me, how do I know if this program is something for me?

Randy Harris: The best reason to enter the Spiritual Direction Program is if you are already engaged in spiritually directing people . . . and the best sign that you are doing that is if people seek you out for it. So the program is to develop a gift you are already exercising. People ask, “Am I called to be a spiritual director?” and I ask “Are people seeking spiritual direction from you?”

So, to get into the program then hope someone will seek you out won’t work, right?

Randy Harris: Right.

Can we talk about the Growing Deeper Spirituality Program now?

Randy Harris: The program is for people going about the business of Christian life and asking, “Is this it? Is this what I signed up for?”

You mean someone who’s at a point of searching for something more in God?

Randy Harris: Yes, the church has been thinking about these things for two thousand years. We’re trying to recover what the church has learned about how to have a spiritual life.

Give me an example.

Randy Harris: Well, it’s like playing chess and ignoring hundreds of years of chess move theory.

You could say the same thing for Poker or some other pastime that people actually play more, but that’s beside the point.

Randy Harris: Yes, it is beside the point. It’s the same way with any game or sport-there is a body of knowledge that you access and practice to become a better athlete, and in the same way, we are seeking to tap into a long history of spirituality that helps us deepen our own life with God.New Wineskins

Spiritual Direction Program

Growing Deeper Spirituality Program

Greg TaylorGreg Taylor is managing editor of New Wineskins. He is also associate
minister for the Garnett Church of Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His
newest book, co-authored with Anne-Geri?Fann, How to Get Ready for Short-Term Missions, was released by Thomas Nelson in May 2006. His novel is titled High Places (Leafwood, 2004). He co-authored with John Mark Hicks, Down in the River to Pray: Revisioning Baptism as God’s Transforming Work. Greg and his wife, Jill, have three children: Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Before moving to Tulsa in 2005, the Taylors lived in Nashville, Tennessee four years, and they lived in Uganda seven years, where they worked with a church planting team. His blog is http://gregtaylor.cc.

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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