A Christian perspective on enabling spiritual formation in relation to work

  • Susan Howard

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis is an action research investigation into the influence of my Christian habitus on my consultancy practice. My research question: How does my Christian faith inform the work I do? is located within the academic field of Spirit at Work. The complexity and difficulties of my professional practice are explored using the literature on Christian spirituality. My investigation uses the research method of practical theology to explore: my own Christian perspective; my role as a spiritual mentor; the nature of spiritual formation; and, faith in relation to work. The analytical methods of theological reflection, narrative inquiry, and autoethnography support the critical reflection. Five themes emerge: the evangelical basis of my Christian perspective; an understanding of the grace of God; the consideration of resistance as sin; strategies to enable spiritual formation; and complex combinations of faith in relation to work. This study has enabled me to interrogate my approach to spiritual formation in relation to work. My inquiry in a variety of contexts – with colleagues, one individual, and with a client –has developed my ability as a reflexive practitioner, and has strengthened my vocation as a spiritual mentor. I have used the Holistic Development Model (HDM) to underpin my approach to spiritual mentoring, and created a Christian interpretation of it. Spiritual formation is explored through the topics of: church, faith, purpose and mission using scripture, adventure and leadership, and difficulty and struggle. The research provides insights into my work as a professional consultant in the area of leadership development. My reflexive learning, combined with participative inquiry, provides an insider perspective on living within an evangelical Christian worldview. Difficulties over how to interpret Christian faith in work contexts are explored, particularly with regard to inclusivity. The research links spiritual formation with leadership, concluding that, in my practice, faith takes precedence.
    Date of Award23 Jul 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Winchester
    SupervisorMark Lowman (Supervisor) & June Boyce-Tillman (Supervisor)


    • Spirit at Work
    • spirtuality
    • grace
    • sin
    • faith
    • christian
    • mentor
    • catalyst
    • formation
    • leadership

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