How do we grow our members from converts to disciples? How do we lead our churches in the process of growing disciples?
In the first part we said that this process is not automatic. If we don’t have a discipleship process/plan in place we are presuming that it will just happen. Many churches have yet to think through this process of Making and Maturing Disciples.
Part of the problem is our misconceptions about the whole process of discipleship and spiritual growth. I addressed some of these in the last few blogs on jump-starting your discipleship.
Rick Warren shares six myths about spiritual maturity that are right on target. Here are the last three.
Maturity Myth 4: “Spiritual maturity is measured by what you know.”
Many churches 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 isn’t 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 don’t grow in isolation from others. We develop in the context of fellowship.
Maturity 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!
Many churches have bought in to “let’s do nothing and see how much we grow?” Discipleship is an intentional process that calls for our best. What is your plan for moving converts, babes in Christ, to become fully devoted followers of Jesus?