Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Spiritual Maturity "Process"

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Key 2 Changes

Discipleship Training

We believe that obeying the commands of Jesus is the Key 2 Changes in people’s lives. Our goal is to equip Christians from all denominations to do the work of the ministry … so they appear as lights in a dark world … moved by their love for God and man … in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Our desire is to see each person remain in their own church, assisting the pastor in making new disciples of Jesus Christ … thereby extending the Kingdom of God throughout the earth.

The Spiritual Maturity Process

The mission of The Church is: To authentically live out the great commandment and the great commission.

The Great Commandment (Mark 12:30-31)
1. You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.
2. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20)
3. Stay until you are clothed with power from on high.
4. Go into all the world.
5. Preach repentance for the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name.
6. Baptize those who believe the message … in the name of Jesus.
7. Teach those who have been baptized to observe all that Jesus commanded.

We like to use the word mission because it implies that there is an on going process or journey taking place. This is true for every Christian. From the time that he is spiritually “born again” until his death, God is at work within a Christian transforming his life into the likeness of His Son Jesus Christ. We call that process … spiritual maturity.

Spiritual maturity is similar in many ways to the human maturity process that we all go through. It begins at birth and consists of learning and doing various things that give us the ability to work, play and reproduce ourselves. Jesus modeled this process by taking twelve ordinary people and then transforming them into individuals who were authentically living out the great commandment and the great commission in their lives.

Spiritual maturity is predicated upon an individual’s relationship to our Lord Jesus Christ. That relationship begins by asking four basic questions. Who is Jesus Christ? What is His character? What is my relationship to Him? What is it He wants me to do? The answer to these questions are best discovered when people become familiar with the Gospels … as Jesus interacts with His disciples and issues them various instructions … moving them along a spiritual continuum.

We are seeking men and women who earnestly desire to authentically live out the great commandment and great commission in their lives and are prepared to train and equip them to do it.

The Spiritual Maturity Process we use is based on what Jesus told His disciples to do. The training period designed to take an individual from his spiritual birth to adulthood; a state in which he is capable of making disciples of Jesus Christ himself.

In designing the process we recognized that not everyone within a congregation is a new believer. In fact, many may have been Christians for some time. So we developed several training segments with entry and departure points to facilitate them obtaining only the training they needed to become fully equipped.

The whole Spiritual maturity process takes about 120 hours to complete. The teachings themselves can be customized to an individual’s available time. (i.e. once a week for 3 hours for 40 weeks, etc) Each of the growth stages can be taught separately and conformed to the individual’s available time.

Where an individual currently lies within the Spiritual Maturity Process and which step he needs to take next are determined primarily through self-evaluation. Using the following two-step process does this.

Step 1 – Growth Stages

By using the definitions, attitudes/behaviors and needs choose which one of the four following growth stages you are currently in.

Stage 1 - Conception: “I believe in God, but I’m not sure about Christ. My faith is not a significant part of my life.”
  • These people are taking the first steps in spiritual growth and are marked by significantly lower levels of agreement with belief statements such as “I believe salvation comes only through Jesus Christ.”
  • Attitudes/Behaviors:
    • They tend not to involve God in their daily lives.
    • They tend to seek God’s guidance only in times of need.
    • They may view the Bible as irrelevant.
    • They need others to help them interpret spiritual issues.
    • They generally don’t serve in the church.
    • They tend to live for the moment.
    • They may consider themselves spiritual but not necessarily Christian.
    • Jesus is a good person but not necessarily God.
    • They may have only a limited knowledge of the Bible.
  • Needs:
    • Seeker services.
    • Opportunities to connect with others.
    • Venues to openly discuss questions and doubts.

Stage 2 - Childhood: “I believe in Jesus, and I’m working on what it means to get to know Him.”
  • These early believers are growing in their faith through church experiences and are also starting to incorporate personal spiritual practices into their normal routine outside of church.
  • Attitudes/Behaviors:
    • They are discovering faith.
    • They need others to help them interpret spiritual issues.
    • They willingly participate in small groups.
    • Some of them serve in church.
    • They sometimes read the Bible or Christian books.
    • They are aware that areas of their life need transformation.
  • Needs:
    • Small group opportunities.
    • Basic personal spiritual practices.
    • Corporate worship service.
    • Develop a personal relationship with a mentor.
    • Supportive teaching.

Stage 3 - Adolesence: “I feel really close to Christ and depend on Him for daily guidance.”
  • These believers report much higher levels of personal spiritual practices than earlier segments. Serving emerges as an important expression of their faith. While their devotion to Christ is growing, they still hold back from full commitment.
  • Attitudes/Behaviors:
    • The Bible provides direction for their lives.
    • Prayer is central to their lives.
    • They have not surrendered everything to Christ.
    • Small groups are less important to them.
    • Spiritual friends increase in importance to them.
    • They serve regularly.
    • They are concerned for the lost like Jesus was.
    • They have a desire for growth in spiritual disciplines.
  • Needs:
    • Serving opportunities.
    • Advanced personal spiritual practices.
    • Learn to share their faith.

Stage 4 - Adulthood: “God is all I need in my life. He is enough. Everything I do is a reflection of Christ.”
  • These people have fully surrendered their lives to Christ, demonstrated by their dramatically higher levels of spiritual behaviors and attitudes across the board. They “very strongly agree” that they seek God’s guidance in every area of their lives … at two times the level of any other segment.
  • Attitudes/Behaviors:
    • They love God more than anything
    • For them, prayer is constant conversation with God.
    • They help to mentor others.
    • Service to others is a way of life.
  • Needs:
    • Mentoring opportunities.
    • Wide range of serving opportunities.
    • Develop a ministry based on God’s call.
    • Prepare a personal mission statement.

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