Phillipp Jakob Spener

German theologian, Phillipp Jakob Spener is regarded as the father of the Pietist Movement during the 17th century. Spener was a Lutheran pastor who sought to strengthen the church through spiritual disciplines and emphasized training the younger generation. During his time, Spener established groups called collegia pietatis, which had influence beyond Europe, and ultimately influence today what we call Lifegroups.

Spener believed the Word of God was the power that fueled individual faith and church reformation. Out of a desire to see his congregation grow in biblical knowledge, Spener began gathering with a group of 15 – 20 others to study Scripture and devotional pieces. The groups grew from 20 to 50 and then 100, as men, women, rich, poor and even non-Lutherans met together.

Ultimately, as Spener recounted, these groups were birthed out of a place where believers, “longed to have some opportunity when godly-minded people could come together and confer with each other in simplicity and love.”

Pietist Gathering