Growing the Church Through Biblical Training

The Hindrances to Christian Growth

Perhaps you are thinking, “If growth is so natural, then why aren’t the Christians in my congregation growing more?” That is an excellent observation. The Flow shows why this natural growth can be frustrated. But please remember this one important truth: growth is natural.

As God has built in a desire for growth, so there are others that that do their best to hinder this growth. Satan’s clear purpose is to stop the advance of God’s people. Christian leaders need to be aggressive in discipleship training because otherwise those godly desires will be overshadowed by their fleshly desires that are brought to the front from the temptations of the evil one.

Christian growth is normal but without proper caution abnormalities occur. Notice how John identifies three things in the very next verses that can hinder a Christian’s growth.

Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (1 John 2:15-16).

Satan is intentionally tempting Christians so that they will fall (i.e. stop growing spiritually). This is exactly where we started out in this article. The evil one is gaining more ability to tempt God’s people through the avalanche of modern media and educational system. Personal training will work, but it needs to be more strategic.

Identifying Strategic Gaps

Think a moment about your church or group that you are responsible for.  What problems are you facing? Try to identify three to five problems; prioritize them according to urgency. Most church leaders stop with the identification of the problems and give up after common to no solution.

After that, answer the question, “What do God’s people need so that they will or will not do that certain thing?” The answer to this second question helps us know what kind of training is needed. After this, we need to get to God’s Word and see what He says about helping correct their perspectives and habits. We must put our confidence in God’s Word.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The real problem is not God’s people. Other churches or Christians in other cultures do not necessarily have our problems. The difficulty is the lack of training and obedience. Simple exhortation not to watch pornography, to rightly handle finances or to have good marriages just doesn’t work. The challenge is not wrong, but it is not enough.

After applying this procedure again and again, one begins to start understanding the importance of training. We see the reasons God’s people are not loving God, back bite, etc. We agree that some of the issues have complicated roots, but God’s Word is powerful. We need to put our confidence in the Lord. If our training is being ineffective, then reevaluate the training material and the means of training. Perhaps more time needs to be given to a certain issue. Some matters are so tied to an individual’s life style that follow-up or an accountability partner should be implemented. It is easy for Christians to fall back to old habits.

Remember that the first place we stop supplying effective training becomes a dam. The flow (spiritual growth) stops. Let's note four common church problems caused or exacerbated by the lack of effective training.

Common Problems
Results from no training
Training needed (Solution)
Goals for the people
#1 No new Christians

No evangelism taking place!

Instill the vision and skills for individuals to evangelize.

Enable brethren to desire and to know how to lead people to Christ.

#2 Conversions but most fall away

Fall away quickly.

Implement basic discipleship program.

Strengthen every young Christian.

#3 Weak Christians

Become self-serving; entertainment mode.

Train to meet the greatest needs of your people.

Empower Christians to live righteous lives in all areas of their lives.

#4 Over-burdened and ineffective pastors

Only professional pastor(s) are expected to minister.

Instill vision and start training of lay leaders.

Train others to care for the needs of those around you.


Anywhere that we fail to train God’s people will create a gapping hole. If the evil one wants to attack, he often chooses to pierce the biggest gap in our armor. This doesn’t mean that we do not have other weak areas, but only that he doesn’t need to expose those areas of weakness at this point.

There is a natural growth process but very unnatural attacks on that growth. This is the precise reason we cannot just let young Christians grow up on their own. They need extra help. They need to be discipled. They need pastors and elders to equip them.

Let's see what an overall training view looks like next.
Biblical Foundations for Freedom

by Paul J. Bucknell