Monday, January 7, 2008

What Stage Are You In?

Here are my notes and thoughts on yesterday’s message at church. I’m sorry that I didn’t get around to writing and posting them until now…..

Yesterday was all about evaluating the hearts and spiritual growth of the people in the church. Chad said that there was a church that did a whole big survey on it. (The website where you can learn more about that is: http://www.revealnow.com/ ). It was really interesting stuff!! But, of course, spiritual growth is a hard thing to measure. I mean, you don’t have an x-ray machine for that! So, the only way to tell is by seeing the spiritual fruit that one produces as evidence by their continual transformation in the love of Christ.

That brings us to the burning question of the message yesterday: “Did you grow spiritually in 2007?” In other words, did you grow in your love towards God and your love towards others? For me personally, I have experienced a LOT of growth last year, and it will continue into this year (and every year after that!). I want to grow in Christ for the rest of my life and continue to love Him, and others, more and more.

At church, we took our own little survey of questions. Chad said that when the reveal survey was done, they had found out that all the activities, programs, and such that a church does doesn’t solely drive spiritual growth. A person’s personal relationship with Christ is what defines that, and the role of the church in helping to nurture spiritual growth helps in different ways. Activities and programs are good for some in facilitating growth, but for others, they need more. There has to be diverse opportunities and things provided for them to grow in the way they need to go. Everyone is in a different stage and taking a different step.

The survey found out that there were four different relationship stages: Exploring, Growing, Close, and Center. In the “exploring” stage, you are just getting to know God and for people in that stage, church is the most important thing to help with spiritual growth. Church and the Sunday morning services are critical for them in understanding God and taking their next step toward the “growing” stage. In that stage, people start growing through things like small groups (Bible studies/fellowship). It’s important for people to have other believers helping them to take their next step by walking through the journey with them.

The next two stages move beyond by getting into the “close” and “center” relationship with Christ. When you’re “close” you are in a stage or really wanting to get involved and be active in your faith. It’s a time of discovering your gifts and talents and how you can best use them to go back to those in the first two stages so that they can move up into the next few stages too. Chad also pointed out that in this stage, a person can get “stalled.” That’s totally normal. It’s a “seeking” stage and it requires a lot of patience and perseverance. Getting to know who you are in Christ and what you are meant to do takes time, and there are a lot of ups and down in that stage.

The last stage is when Jesus is the “center” of your life and the driving force behind all you do. That’s the stage in which you are always looking for opportunities to serve with the gifts that you have so that you can help others reach their next stage and give back to others what God has given to you on your journey. The objective is to “impart what you possess.” That’s why I love our church mission statement so much: “Reach up; Reach Out; Reach Around.”
Knowing where you are helps you get to where you are going. If you want to grow in Christ, identify what stage you most fit into and then go after the things that are most going to help and nurture you as you take your next steps.

So, if you need help in your stage, let me know!! That’s what I am here for because blogging is my the many ways I try to “impart what I possess” so I can help others take their next steps in their walk with Christ as I continue walking the path myself. If you need a church home, come to mine! Or, if you don’t live around here, I will help you find one where you live. If you need help dealing with “stalled” moments, I’m here to walk through it with you too. I have had plenty of those moments myself. We all do!! We can all learn from each other and help each other out!!

Here is one man who is walking across America to impart what he possesses!! This is the guy who created the t-shirts for the walk for life that my children and I wore that my friend Saundra gave me. His website is now up and she gave me the address to share with you: http://bravegeneration.com/

I pray that all of you will grow in your relationship with Christ this year. And, if you have yet to start that relationship, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and ask how you can get started!! God bless you all!

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