To read the following in context and why I’ve been talking about “Intention” lately at least at BLC and in conversartions, one must check out the article “The Tension Regarding Intention” by Todd Hunter
Let’s see if we can find an imaginative way forward. First, with reference to all three issues—evangelism, leadership, and spiritual formation—the answer to misuse, usually in the form of manipulation, is not no use, it’s correct use. We cannot live unintentional lives in any important area of life. And despite the language seeming to the contrary, no one is now doing so. Those focusing on “just relationship” or “just community” are intentional also in that they want to eliminate manipulation. But action must be taken to implement that or any other vision. We cannot live without intention; made in the image of an intentional God, that’s simply not a choice available to us.
Second, God didn’t, after creating Adam and Eve, tell them just to relate and have community. Work is part of God’s plan for our collaboration in creation. For this reason, spiritual formation must be something intentional. We can and must intend, as Jesus did, to do what we see God doing.
Third, regarding manipulation, just don’t do it: place manipulative tactics in your mind, circle them, and draw red lines through them. A big key to successfully leaving manipulation behind is to find a way to feel secure about our eternal life. We usually manipulate and control out of fear and insecurity, hence the need for spiritual formation again.