Summary: Our first step toward spiritual maturity and to experiencing the Spirit starts with the Bible. It is the one resource breathed to life by God and then placed into our hands by God to follow.
Series: Experience the Spirit
Theme: The Body of Christ needs to learn to experience the Spirit in their everyday lives so that they grow spiritually. We can learn to experience true spirituality as we see the Spirit at work in our daily lives and activities.
As we learn to recognize the Spirit and embrace His Spirit spiritual growth will take place in our lives.
Over the next few weeks we will be seeking to learn how to experience the Spirit in various dimensions of our life. The intent or focus of this series is to encourage all of us to be intentional about our spiritual growth.
According to researchers America possess the world’s largest infrastructure for implementing spiritual growth and assisting people in their spiritual development. This nation has about 450,000 churches according to Answers.com. There are 1,000’s of para-church organizations in the USA as well. We have an estimated 3,000 Christian Schools in this country with this number dwindling every year. We have seemingly unlimited Christian products, resources, and even experts in this country. We have 100’s of Christian radio stations and TV stations in the USA. We have more Bibles than you can imagine in this country with close to a 100 translations and versions of the Bible available today. We have more than we need to grow spiritually in this country, yet “Spiritual Maturity” is highlighted as the number one problem among Christians today by the Barna Research group in a 2009 study.
Visual Illustration: Reference the table on the altar filled with spiritual growth resources.
Many Christians cannot define or have a very hard time defining what Christian Spiritual Maturity is or even looks like. Yet, many will say that they want to grow into spiritually mature Christians.
In the research done by the survey, “Many Churchgoers and Faith Leaders Struggle to Define Spiritual Maturity” the conclusion to this study is found on www.barna.org and also on www.livingontheedge.org. Here are some of the findings from this 2008/2009 research survey.
Born Again Christians identified the following problems or obstacles to their spiritual growth:
1. Distractions or obligations (24%)
2. Lack of motivation (20%)
3. Sinful habits (14%)
4. Lack of involvement (13%)
5. Other reasons make up the rest
Pastors were also interviewed and asked what hinders peoples spiritual growth and here where there 3 top reasons.
1. Personal motivation
2. Competing obligations and distractions
3. Lack of involvement in activities that nurture spiritual growth
Our goal is to help you grow spiritually over the next 6 weeks leading up to Easter. I pray, this series will give you practical ways to grow spiritually as a Christian.
On a side note: In the research survey the researchers determined that many churches and ministers did not have a direct plan or definition of Spiritual Maturity. But on our website we did place our seven core values of Christian Hills Church. These seven core values-steps describe spiritual growth and the steps along our journey to spiritual maturity.
Highlight the cyclical steps to spiritual growth and spiritual maturity. Encourage the church to go to our website to read through the seven steps to spiritual growth at www.christianhills.org.
Our seven core values give a plan for spiritual growth and is summarized below:
1. EVANGELIZE. Our belief is that lost people matter to God; and, therefore, the church needs to focus on reaching them with the Gospel. This will be accomplished by three means:
a. By relational evangelism, which is a process that takes time and serious diligence. This does not happen by just one time sharing the gospel with someone but by establishing a relationship with the lost individual. We will train our people in this type of evangelism with programs like “Contagious Christian”. We will seek to model this evangelistic approach through our own lifestyle. See Luke 5:30-32, Luke 15, and Matt. 18:14.
b. By anointed preaching and teaching which will change lives. This form of communication is God’s plan for explaining the who, what, when, where, and why of Christianity. See Romans 12:7, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, and James 1:23-25.
c. By being culturally relevant to the lost community yet remaining Biblical in my approach. There will be no compromise of the Gospel in any way but culturally relevant and creative ways will be implemented to open the eyes of the lost to the truth. See 1 Cor. 9:19-23.
2. REALIZE. When the gospel is evangelized by the above process, lost individuals come to a realization that they need to become born again. This decision occurs by the following means:
a. Life change happens through the above process of presenting the truth.
b. We believe that life change is also a result of the Holy Spirit working in individuals (the seekers) hearts and minds. The Holy Spirit will also use Christians to help people see the light of eternity.