Guiding Authentic Spiritual Growth

I looked at the last post [“Which is the greater danger?  Heresy or Blind Compliance”] and I had to say, “Let people make mistakes.”  I completely agree with the concept of letting people take ownership of their faith even though they will and do make mistakes.  And that ownership only happens when people learn for themselves.  But that word “for” is a big one.  It is “for themselves” not “by themselves.”

That means I don’t think it is helpful or responsible to let people wallow around in sloppy thinking or fall prey to deceptive thinking.  It happens too easily.

I’m going to start sketching out a formula for what I try to do, and I hope others will add comments and ideas and raise up examples that others have come up with.

One – Pray – The is a holy process that God’s Spirit is involved with.  It starts here, grows here and ends here.

Two – Scripture – Model a balanced approach to reading the Bible (primarily) and other writings.

Three – Vision – Supply vision for the purpose of faith and what it means to be a Christ follower in your context.

Four – Groups – Create and support opportunities for individualized learning and conversation.  Give general guidance to these experiences, but don’t manage them.

Five – Service – Encourage and give opportunities to people to practice what they believe.

Six – Listen – Leaders learn from what the larger body is discerning.  This allows the body to mature spiritually.

Start process over…

This was just a quick shot at the process… It is an inexact process and certainly full of holes.  Help me with them.  But then… maybe the holes are the faith part…


3 responses to “Guiding Authentic Spiritual Growth

  1. Okay, so I’m no pastor but I think your model is good. Seems like you have all of the main “areas” of spirituality covered. I do think there is another component that deals with the history of the Church that deserves a little attention, too (this includes both our personal histories as well as good old fashioned Church History 101). Just seems like it’s a big obstacle to spiritual development for so many people. That said, my guess is that you would integrate such things into the six categories you mention above.

    My husband and I are listening to an audio book called “Upon This Rock” about the history of the Papacy. It’s amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. Anyway, for some people that history can actually turn them off to Church; for others it’s a message that we really need to see beyond human errors, etc. I’m not sure where I’m going with this except to say that maybe you should add “educate” to your list. It’s only in understanding the past that we can move forward with the future.

  2. Very true. I see the overall education, or literacy, of people being essential for mature faith. You list good reasons for it. It should happen through preaching and in groups, but there does seem to be room for special education classes and retreat style learning.

    My issue with them is that churches have gone to these first and they become deadends of ‘objectivized’ learning where the brain becomes over-developed and the heart and service muscles stay weak and flabby. I like the idea of people engaging in groups and serving with the little they know first. Then with that pattern ingrained in their lives, they dig for that other deep stuff.

    Like in all things; balance and persistence… and a willingness to live precariously! Thanks for the thoughts.

  3. Good point. I like the idea of “living it” first and “learning it” later. A lot of churches have it backwards.

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