Within the SA Foundation, staff and volunteers are invited to participate in a weekly Formation of Servants group, where the leadership of the organization sets the tone for addressing personal recovery issues while seeking to understand the recovery process that program participants undergo.
The SA Formation of Servants program is the tool that the SA Foundation is using to facilitate the development of servanthood, personal recovery and community within the SA Foundation and its SA organizations.
The SA Formation of Servants (FOS) – History
In 1985, soon after being called by God to become a Christian, the SA Founder felt burdened to start up and facilitate a group dedicated to prayer and Bible study, specifically focused, to garner a Biblical perspective on social justice issues. As she continued to seek God’s guidance, this same individual was called by God to address the issues of sexual exploitation in her community. This calling was shared and taken up by many members of the group. However, as they proceeded in this vein, it soon became clear to these seekers that even though their intentions were honorable, their own brokenness contributed much to the unhealthiness of their community.
In the midst of processing through this new realization, the founder received an invitation to participate in a Twelve Step Survivors of Abuse group. It is through this participation, that she came to realize that in order not to be overwhelmed by one's own wounding or the incredible needs of those that they would serve, there needed to be a structured, Scripture-based, step-by-step support for those seekers desirous of a life of freedom. It is out of this knowledge that the SA Scriptural Twelve Step program was born. This replaced the initial prayer and Bible study in early 1986.
As the group journeyed through the SA Scriptural Twelve Step program, the founder began to understand the need for expositions on Scripture that provided a Biblical base for life applications. As God gave them, she proceeded to write explanations of these specific Scriptures that she recognized were keys to understanding and working through the process of transformation. Over the next few years, at the urging of the founder, a friend and fellow group member wrote a number of complementary commentaries on these same passages of Scripture. Today, the fruit of this labour can be recognized in the SA Formation of Servants materials which integrates them with the SA Scriptural twelve-step program.
The Formation of Servants acts as a guideline for an SA group. This guideline helps to build and foster community, motivating each group member to look to Scripture as their foundation for recovery and from this share their insights on how God has and is healing them. The SA Formation of Servants program has at its base an understanding that only a moment by moment surrender to God’s will enables a person to truly become whole and free. This stance of surrender is not new; rather it has been modeled consistently through the ages, with unequivocal fervor, by men and women who have been used by Christ for the cause of his kingdom. They are those to whom all can turn for examples of discipleship and commitment.
The SA Formation of Servants program combines specific Scriptures, the SA Scriptural 12 Steps, prayer and meditation to encourage repentance and growth within a community of recovery. It prepares seekers (who desire to deepen in their discipleship commitments) to thirst more deeply for righteousness and gives them a glimpse of God’s character so that they can continue to discover Jesus as the meaning of life and their only true friend. The Formation of Servants is designed to enable seekers to enter the lifelong journey to Christian maturity and become more effective servants of their Lord wherever they are called.
In its entirety, the Formation of Servants was created in response to God’s call to recognize more deeply that it is complete dependence on Him alone that can initiate and sustain lasting growth in the Christian life. It is only this utter dependence that can bring to life the persistence needed to fearlessly address all selfish desires that break relationships be it with God or people. Without refute, these selfish desires, fuelled by addictions, compulsions, learned behaviors, values and any preconceived ideas that may have previously been accepted at face value, are in contradiction with God’s will for His children. It is hoped that through their participation in the Formation of Servants, those who serve will come to realize that they are not so different from those they are sent to serve. This realization will change the face of their service and infuse justice into their surroundings because it is no longer those who have who give to those who have not but God who gives to both equally all needing Him desperately.
FOS Discipleship Program
The SA Formation of Servants is a unique discipleship program that integrates the study of Scriptures with the practice of the Scriptural 12-Steps of recovery*.
The SA Formation of Servants takes place within small group interaction and the fellowship of a caring community where disciples become comfortable in being transparent before God and each other. In the process of this group interaction, they will grow spiritually and emotionally.
The intended outcome of the program is:
- That disciples will have their personal walk with Christ deepened, thus enhancing the quality of their own lives and their service to others.
- That in the process of recovery they will have identified and accepted responsibility for their part in the things in their lives that have made it unmanageable.
- That they will have differentiated the unmanageable things in their lives that are their responsibility and those that are not their responsibility, and moved toward forgiveness of those who have wronged or hurt them.
- It also equips them with tools to improve their relationships with others in their family, friends, work, church and neighbourhood environments, where they desire to: Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God.
Is the course for you?
- Do you struggle with repeated moral failures in your life?
- In your relationship with others, do you find yourself either caring too much or too little about what they think of you?
- When you are in the wrong, do you find it easier to shift the blame or your responsibility, or to ask for forgiveness promptly?
- Have significant others caused personal harm in such a way that the pain touches all areas of your life?
- When confronted by authority figures, do you get defensive or do you comply and feel used?
- In addressing the hungers (desires) in your life, do you turn to people, places or things beside God as a source of relief and satisfaction?
- Does your shame cause you to experience a sense of alienation from God and isolation from others?
These are just a few questions you might want to consider when deciding whether or not the Formation of Servants is a program that could help you in your growth process.
The SA Formation Servants is a forty week journey that encourages course participants to be willing to have God heal their past, to submit their present to His loving authority, and to entrust their future to His mercy and grace. It also guides course participants to turn to God as their source for love, security and acceptance.
In the SA Formation of Servants course participants gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of servanthood, personal recovery and community and begin the course by asking themselves what it means to call Jesus their Lord and Saviour.
The SA Formation of Servants invites course participants to hear the Holy Spirit in their present life circumstances and to become comfortable in being transparent with God, themselves and others in the following process:
- Bottoming Out (Step 1)
- Reaching out to God (Step 2)
- Making the decision, once again, to turn over one's life to God (Step 3)
- Fearlessly assessing one's life (Step 4)
- Confessing one's wrongs (Step 5)
- Getting ready for change (Step 6)
- Understanding the difference between humility and humiliation in making the decision to change (Step 7)
- Becoming ready to make amends to those harmed through selfish desires (Step 8)
- Wisely making amends to those harmed through selfish desires (Step 9)
- Maintaining recovery (Step 10)
- Deepening one's relationship with God: Desiring to do His will rather than one's own will (Step 11)
- Sharing spiritual awakenings and recovery from selfish desires with others; Having taken the decision to walk the talk (Step 12)
*Adapted from A.A.
Choice of learning style
There are several ways to work through the Formation of Servants. Each method takes into consideration the best process of learning for the individual taking it. The question to ask yourself is What is the best learning experience you have had? What made it such a good experience for you? From this what would you say would be the ideal learning environment for you?
FOS living groups. Small groups of 8-10 individuals committed to growing together in transparency, honesty, vulnerability and community with each other. This process is guided by a group facilitator who has become a practitioner of the FOS. The groups meet weekly for 2 hours to share what has been studied and worked through in the previous week. There is a format and a leader's guide for the development and leadership of these FOS groups. The cost of the course in this format is $100 and includes all materials. Dates, times and locations will be published in newsletters, and in online calendars of events.
FOS individual study. Individuals purchase the study manuals from our online store; these include FOS volumes 1-2 and the Serenity Bible. Each week’s study will be submitted to the Director of Mentorship at the Centre for Servant Leadership Development for response and feedback before moving onto the next lesson or step. The cost of the course in this format is $200 and includes all materials.
All money raised resulting from the purchase of the SA Formation of Servants material is reinvested into the SA Foundation to support our mandate of fighting sexual exploitation and trafficking of youth, women and their children.
The Individual Journey
Those interested are welcome to purchase individual copies of the SA Formation of Servants program. To enroll in the SA Formation of Servants please email email@example.com.
Starting an SA Formation of Servants Community
The SA Formation of Servants groups are designed to be led by Christian leaders who have made a personal commitment to become an active disciple of the Lord Jesus. Therefore, to start up an SA Formation of Servants group such leaders will need to:
- Have a signed letter of reference from their Pastor/Ministry Leader attesting to their own leadership involvement and abilities
- Have completed a 40-week Formation of Servants program
- Register their group with the World Services Division of the SA Foundation (SAF)
- Purchase the SA Formation of Servants material
- Sign copyright agreements and statement of faith (SAF adheres to the Nicene/Apostles Creed)
- We, who are taking the SA Formation of Servants, came because we finally gave up trying to control our lives. We still struggle to admit that God is in control of how our lives unfold. In the gospel we heard how we had a problem (sin) and how God has addressed that problem (Jesus) and how we can come to enjoy restoration and recovery by the Holy Spirit (sanctification).
SA’s program curriculum is called the SA Formation of Servants because it has been designed to guide Christian people through a personal recovery process. The SA Formation of Servants is meant to become an instrument of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who are willing to address the selfish desires or idols that plague their lives, and who “Recognize that God desires to transform every life into Jesus’ likeness.” (1 Cor. 3:18)
The FOS integrates key Biblical texts into the Twelve Step materials. The participant in an FOS Group works through the texts and the steps to facilitate their own personal growth and recovery. The purpose is always to facilitate their development as Servants of God who bring a message of hope and recovery to all who they serve.
As a disciple of the Lord Jesus, the personal journey is based on prayer, which directs the hearts of God’s children to be ready to receive a new look on life – fashioned after Jesus’ own. But to be like Jesus, they must come to realize, has nothing to do with outside changes, but rather with a complete change of learned behaviours, values and any pre-conceived ideas which they may have accepted as part of their makeup and that are so deeply rooted in their hearts.
The FOS program is a tool used by the Holy Spirit to transform the lives of Christian people who are ready and willing to hear what He desires to reveal to them, through God’s word. They have discovered their inability to overcome temptations, trials and tribulations through their own strength, in their own way, while leaning on their own understanding. They have been so weakened by the battles that they have been left with no alternative but to cry out to God to renew their strength. As they journey together as a group, these Christian people become recovery partners to each other.
The FOS program utilizes specific Scriptures that can quench an individual’s thirst for righteousness and which they can pray and meditate on to enable the Holy Spirit to teach them, in a deeper way, about the Lord’s will. These passages will give them a glimpse of God’s character and help them come to know Jesus as their only true friend and the meaning of life.
These Scriptures have been integrated into the weekly Step work in the FOS manuals. There are also written as in-depth Bible studies on several of the key passages that are included in the manuals. These integrated reflections and Bible studies remind Christian people what the journey is all about as they work through the Twelve Steps and study the Biblical passages. Below is an outline of the journey toward recovery and wholeness.