How did Jesus do his ministry? He hung out with a group of guys who didn't necessarily have natural affinity (how about a zealot and tax collector in a Community Group together?), led them by example, and gave them assignments that stretched their abilities. Jesus' ministry included pulling away from the crowds and their needs to just be with the disciples – to teach them, to discuss life, to pour into them. And it also included daily interaction with the community around them; healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and calling them to the disciple life.
So how do we grow up? How do we make it past spiritual childhood and our spiritual teen and adult years? Here's where I recommend that you begin:
- Cultivate your personal walk with Jesus – like my dad always says, "Read a chapter a day"! There's no other practice that has cultivated more growth in my life than spending daily time in the Word and in prayer. Currently I'm journaling through the New Testament, going slow and absorbing the meat of the Word.
- Pursue spiritual growth in a community of friends – share life's struggles & victories, encourage each other's personal intimacy with Jesus, discuss and apply the Word, pray for one another… and enjoy fun and laughter together!
- Bring Pervasive Hope to your neighborhood along with your community of friends –work together to serve the needs in your neighborhood regularly and share the gospel often; I think every group should be out serving at least once a month!
Growing up as a Christian includes gaining more knowledge through the study of God's Word, but it doesn't stop there. It involves life transformation, changing from dependency on ourselves to trusting in God, and moving from selfishness to service.
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2 (The Message)
Evaluation / Discussion Questions:
- Who are you hanging out with?
- Are they challenging you to stretch beyond your current level of maturity?
- Are they inviting you to join them in community transforming service?
Press in to intentional growth in community this year, you'll be glad you did!
Be strong & courageous!
Pastor Dave Stewart