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The greatest fault of the Christian church, perhaps, is the assumption that spiritual growth will just happen. We must fight the 'independent' attitude today in which we let everyone learn by himself. Christ said we need to make disciples. As a church, we need to think through where we want our people to be in areas of giving, discipling, evangelizing, family care, loving of neighbors, etc. We can no longer assume people know the right thing to do.
I know that if someone took me aside when I was a young Christian and guided me in what I should do, how I should live and how to study the Bible, it would have made a tremendous difference in my Christian life. I blundered about. Fortunately, God slowly weaned me through this process.
On the other hand, you might have a great concern as a leader in the church for others. For example, you, as a deacon, might have a great concern about taking further steps in protecting the people against the sexually immoral teachings or materialism infecting the church. Most the times, we say a prayer and mention the need at a meeting. It is discussed and then some general comment about that is too bad is made. You pray some more and quickly forget about the need.
As leaders, we should be proactive in training our people in the areas that they need. With a group, think about where the Christians are at now and then where they need to go. There are some questions below that will help you think this process through.
You then need to go to your leaders in prayer with a thoughtout plan. It is easy to tell people what not to do, but we need to focus on where we need to bring the people of God. By His grace, we can do this.
Because God is at the center of our lives, He is to influence each aspect of our lives.
Spiritual disciplines such as meditating in the Word, praying, attending church, fellowshipping with Christians and fasting are some spiritual disciplines that help feed us God's Word so that God will thoroughly impact each area of our lives. Without these spiritual disciplines and being discipled by another, otherwise these changes would be near impossible.
We want to think through these stages of Christian spiritual growth with you so that you as a parent, discipler, pastor or friend can take an active part in God's great discipling program throughout the world!
Here are some questions to begin to get you thinking:
What areas of growth are we hoping the disciple grow in?
Rate the person's willingness to grow in those areas of need. What has showed you his interest?
How have you grown in these areas? What has God taught you? How has He taught you?
Where is that person right now in those areas of his or her life?
By God's almighty power and grace, where should that person ideally be in those areas? Where should you be?
What steps are needed to bring that person to those goals?
Under this last crucial step, we might approach it from different perspective such as:
- Truths a person needs to learn
- Activities needed for fostering growth
- Areas in which we are praying for discernment
A life-changing series that causes us to renew our hope that God wants to specially meet every one of His children each day.
True discipleship must take all of Christ's teaching and implement them into our lives in such a way that we live like Christ did. We must not be content with only the passing on of knowledge and tradition and assume conviction and belief just come. Instead, we are to live out the life before those we instruct, just as Christ did. There is a great difference between the modern student and a disciple.
Even more important is understanding the whole process of discipleship in a church (or individual). Why does Jesus leave us essentially one command 'to make disciples?' Once this whole scheme of things is understood, then we can begin to examine each set of materials or the existing programs that our church might now use. We have written quite extensively on this in 'The Flow.'
Scriptures typically quoted from the New American Standard Bible unless noted:
(C) Copyright The Lockman Foundation 1988