The Deeply Formed Life: Five Transformative Values to Root Us in the Way of Jesus
Most believers live in the state of “being a Christian” without ever being deeply formed by Christ. Our pace is too frenetic to be in union with God, and we don’t know how to quiet our hearts and minds to be present. Our emotions are unhealthy and compartmentalized. We feel unable to love well or live differently from the rest of the world—to live as people of the good news.
New York pastor Rich Villodas says we must restore balance, focus, and meaning for our souls. The Deeply Formed Life lays out a fresh vision for spiritual breakthrough following five key values:
• Contemplative Rhythms Value: slowing down our lives to be with God.
• Racial Justice Value: examining a multi-layered approach to pursuing racial justice and reconciliation.
• Interior Examination Value: looking beneath the surface of our lives to live free and love well.
• Sexual Wholeness Value: exploring how our sexuality connects with our spirituality.
• Missional Presence Value: living as the presence of Christ in a broken world.
The Deeply Formed Life is a roadmap to live in the richly rooted place we all yearn for: a place of communion with God, a place where we find our purpose.
Praise for The Deeply Formed Life
“The Deeply Formed Life is a book for our time. Honest, wise, insightful, funny, and—above all—deep. The way Rich and New Life Fellowship hold emotional health and racial justice together is beyond inspiring. This is spiritual formation for the future of the church.”—John Mark Comer, pastor of teaching and vision at Bridgetown Church and author of The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
“I’ve studied the Bible under Pastor Rich’s leadership for close to a decade. The core values he shares in this book serve as guidance, not only for how we should live as Christians in an ever-changing world but also for how we can live a life of purpose—that consistently and enthusiastically points to Jesus.”—Susan Kelechi Watson, actress from the awardwinning television series This Is Us
“Rich Villodas masterfully integrates a wide range of sources—from contemplative to charismatic, monastic to missional, psychological to theological—in a way that is unmistakably Christ centered and gospel shaped. From his own deep spiritual journey, Rich has emerged with a voice that is warm and wise. His vulnerability is refreshing, and his distillation of these life-changing insights and practices is clear and compelling. I found myself smiling and feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit as I read it, and shouting, ‘Amen.’”—Rev. Dr. Glenn Packiam, associate senior pastor at New Life Church and author of Blessed Broken Given
“The evidence is everywhere—Christians have been formed by our culture for shallowness. The way to a more deeply formed life is no great mystery, but it is, as Rich Villodas shows, filled with countercultural practices that require intention, purpose, and vision. These pages cast a vision for not only deeper, holistic formation of each of us as individual believers but also for a more deeply formed church as well.”—Karen Swallow Prior, author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life Through Great Books and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist
“Rich Villodas writes from the wellspring of a monastic spirit that has been woven into the fabric of his life for years. I know very few Christian leaders who embody the contemplative life in such a way that connects the complex social, cultural, and spiritual realities we face today. The Deeply Formed Life invites us to journey with God toward personal wholeness and a new moral imagination that creates a better world of justice, peace, and reconciliation. I highly recommend it!”—Brenda Salter McNeil, author of Becoming Brave: Finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now
“The Deeply Formed Life is a powerful call to a holy pursuit away from the temptations of a shallow discipleship that encumber our generation. Rich masterfully weaves the experiences and disciplines of both personal and communal formation that inspire and empower us to a contemporary discipleship, which leads to spiritual health and flourishing. This book is a gift that enriches us as we open every layer.”—Rev. Dr. Gabriel Salguero, pastor at Calvario City Church and president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition
“Rich Villodas understands that a pastor’s primary task is not to gather a crowd but to form people in Christ. Spiritual formation is not a practice reserved for the spiritually elite; rather it is the very heart of all Christian discipleship. He embodies my hope for the contemporary church in the Western world—for us to a shift toward spiritual formation. The Deeply Formed Life clearly marks the path we need to follow, making the essential practices of formation accessible to everyone.”—Brian Zahnd, pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, and author of Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God
“My friend Rich Villodas has been marked deeply by the spiritual directors of church history. And yet this book is not only about a call to engage in ancient practices so that we can have a more fulfilling life. Rich calls us to both personal refreshment and missional engagement, the kind of engagement that challenges injustice. I believe The Deeply Formed Life represents a new genre of spiritual direction, a kind modeled after Jesus, who both went away to pray and engaged the marginalized.”—Dr. Bryan Loritts, author of The Dad Difference
“The Deeply Formed Life tackles the endemic issue of non-discipleship within the Western church. The book is theologically rich, pastorally sensitive, and wonderfully practical. Rich does not shy away from addressing some of the most pressing issues in our day and how they affect our discipleship. This is much-needed!”—Deb Hirsch, missional leader, speaker, and author of Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship and Redeeming Sex
“In a captivating and moving way, which is profound and personal, Rich Villodas shows us how we can be formed by God into a masterpiece. With shimmering insights and poignant stories, this rare and powerful book will take you deeper into God and make the world more beautiful.”—Ken Shigematsu, pastor of Tenth Church, Vancouver, BC, and bestselling author of God in My Everything
“Revealing our shallowness with grace and helping us see there is so much more to living, Rich Villodas leads us patiently into The Deeply Formed Life. Step by step, this pastor walks us through the malformations that plague our modern existence. He challenges us with content that has a personal spirituality and with nothing less than a full-orbed Christian discipleship. A powerful summons to the deeper life.”—David Fitch, Lindner chair of evangelical theology at Northern Seminary Chicago and author of Faithful Presence
About the Author
Rich Villodas is the Brooklyn-born lead pastor of New Life Fellowship, a large, multiracial church with more than seventy-five countries represented in Elmhurst, Queens. Prior to becoming lead pastor, he gave oversight to New Life’s small group ministry and served as preaching pastor. Rich graduated with a BA in pastoral ministry and theology from Nyack College. He went on to complete his master’s of divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary. He enjoys reading widely, and preaching and writing on contemplative spirituality, justice-related issues, and the art of preaching. He’s been married to Rosie since 2006 and they have two beautiful children, Karis and Nathan.