Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Real Focus of Spiritual Growth

What comes to mind when you hear the word “discipleship?” It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Quite frankly, I think the word has been distorted and misaligned today. The most common definition of “disciple” or “discipleship” today is on how much “content” you know. What follows is usually more lectures, more classes, more lessons, and more church services with longer, and longer sermons. Ugh.

While content is important to know (by that I mean Biblical content – not denominational arguments or some author’s book), the emphasis in scripture is much broader in defining discipleship. In addition to knowing the scriptures, spiritual growth involves a variety of experiences such as having a heart that longs after God… building harmonious relationships with other people…. using your gifts/talents in service to other people…. sharing your faith with lost people… living right… manifesting the fruit of the Spirit… maintaining spiritual disciplines… running the race until you cross the finish line… and maintaining personal holiness… just to name a few. In other words, GETTING OFF YOUR CONTENT and DOING SOMETHING WITH IT.

Spiritual maturity is being like Christ – in life, character, and conduct. It does not mean become a clone or facsimile of another person.

In any healthy church there will be three types of believers:

New believers – still in infancy who need others to feed them
Growing believers – people who have learned how to feed themselves
Mature believers – those who are feeding others

That’s why at PCC we take a developmental approach to spiritual growth - where people are gradually weaned (from the baby stage) and learn to take responsibility for their own spiritual progress.

Two values we hold to:

1. We don’t separate discipleship from evangelism. Churches need to do both. All believers need to do both.

2. We don’t rely a “dependency model” of spiritual growth that means we are constantly “feeding” the “already overfed.” We insist that, at some point in ones spiritual journey, people begin to feed themselves and then feed others.

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