Members Grow To Maturity
The Ministry Tool Box
- It's unfortunate, but many churches assume that spiritual maturity happens
automatically, so they have no real plan for helping their members grow in Christ.
Thats why I encourage churches to be purpose driven, where they have a plan,
not only for evangelism, but also for leading their members into a deeper level
of Christian maturity.
Thats also why we use the model of a baseball diamond
at Saddleback, so members, as well as the staff, can, in some small way, measure
the progress theyre making in their Christian walk.
I think many churches
are afraid to measure progress because theyve bought into one (or more) of the
six myths below:
MYTHS ABOUT SPRITUAL MATURITY
Myth #1: Spiritual growth is automatic once you are born again.
a lot of churches believe this myth, because they have no organized plan for following-up
new believers and no comprehensive strategy for developing members to maturity.
They assume that Christians will automatically grow to maturity if they attend
church services. Yet, the truth is that spiritual growth is intentional. It requires
a commitment to grow. A person must want to grow, decide to grow, and make an
effort to grow.
Maturity Myth #2: Spiritual growth is mystical
and maturity is attainable by only a select few.
The truth is that spiritual
growth is very practical. Any believer can grow to maturity if he or she will
develop the habits necessary for spiritual growth. Paul often compared training
for the Christian life to the way athletes prepare themselves and stay in shape.
We need to take the mystery out of spiritual growth by breaking the components
down into practical, everyday habits.
Maturity Myth #3: Spiritual
maturity can occur instantly if you just find the right key.
Christians spend their entire lives earnestly searching for an experience, a conference,
a revival, a book, a tape, or a single truth that will instantly transform them
into a mature believer. Their search is futile. The truth is that spiritual growth
is a gradual process of development. There are no shortcuts to maturity.
Myth #4: Spiritual maturity is measured by what you know.
evaluate spiritual maturity solely on the basis of how well you can identify Bible
characters, interpret Bible passages, quote Bible verses, and explain biblical
theology. While knowledge of the Bible is foundational to spiritual maturity,
it isnt the total measurement of it.
The truth is that maturity is demonstrated
more by behavior than by beliefs. The Christian life isn't just a matter of creeds
and convictions; it includes conduct and character.
Maturity Myth #5:
Spiritual growth is a personal and private matter.
This is an American
aberration of the truth. The idolatry of individualism in our culture has influenced
even the way we think about spiritual growth. So much of the teaching on spiritual
formation is self-centered and self-focused without any reference to our relationship
to other Christians. This is completely unbiblical and ignores much of the New
Testament. The truth is that Christians need relationships to grow. We dont grow
in isolation from others. We develop in the context of fellowship.
Myth #6: All you need is Bible study to grow.
Many evangelical churches
have been built on this myth. I call them Classroom churches. The truth is that
it takes a variety of experiences with God to produce true spiritual maturity.
In addition to Bible study, it takes worship experiences, ministry experiences,
fellowship experiences, and evangelism experiences.
In other words, spiritual
growth occurs by participating in all five purposes of the church! Mature Christians
do more than study the Christian life - they experience it!
If youd like
to know more about this, please read my book, The
Purpose Driven Church (order your copy at Shop CBN).
This article originally
appeared in Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free, email newsletter available
from pastors.com. Used by permission.
The Ministry ToolBox is for
ANYONE serving Jesus Christ. For a free subscription, you can sign up at www.pastors.com.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.