As a minister of discipleship within a local church, I can relate many stories of people finding a Bible Study within our church, plugging in, and beginning to grow deep roots in God's word and in their relationship with Christ.

For others, finding the right Bible study can be a challenge.  Here are some things to keep in mind about that.

Ask yourself: Whose job is it to see that I grow spiritually?

Here are the most common answers to such a question.

1. It is my pastor's job

Yes and no on this one.  Your pastor is entrusted with shepherding and  spiritual caring for the "flock" that God has placed under his stewardship.  However, if all you do is come to church, sing some songs, and listen to a sermon once a week, you might or might not actually ever begin to grow spiritually.  Most every pastor (and virtually every pastor worth listening to) would agree that if you really want to start growing spiritually, you'll need to be involving yourself with other believers in Bible study and prayer.  Do you know what statistics are showing to be the number one proven way for churchgoers to begin growing spiritually is? It is simply this: Prayerfully study the Bible when you are not at church!  Your pastor can't force you to do that, but he can certainly influence and encourage you to do so.

2. It is my church's job (or my discipleship pastor's job)

Yes and no on this one. Your church (and your discipleship pastor if you have one) are like your pastor in that they are entrusted with overseeing and facilitating the spiritual development of those God has placed under their stewardship.  However, as much as they labor to assist in people's spiritual growth and make it easy for them, sometimes it doesn't seem to happen.  I occasionally receive complaints from people that they are not growing spiritually...some of whom are deeply involved in a Bible study.  I is a head scratcher.  But even though your church and your ministers strive hard to help you grow spiritually, the job is partly your responsibility as well.  Do you show up to church ready to listen and learn?  Do you attend a Bible study at your church expecting to hear God speak to you through the scripture?  Or are you waiting for just the right Bible study to come along with just the right people with just the right teacher?  You might be waiting a long time. 

3. It is MY job

This might be getting close to the right answer.  It's almost there.  As we said before, you should absolutely take responsibilty for your own spiritual growth.  Don't let obstacles deter you from it.  Your pastor will try to influence and the church should provide avenues for spiritual growth, but nothing is stopping you from picking the Bible up or praying.  Every day, spend time in prayer and Bible study.  Don't let your spiritual growth rise or fall on a Bible study teacher or whether you can manage to squeeze in time for a small group during the week on top of serving and worshipping.  Take ownership of your spiritual development.  Make it your priority.  Rearrange your schedule and priorities if you must.  See if you can let God have your heart every single moment of every single day whether you are at church or not, whether you are reading the Bible or doing anything under the sun!  And yet, the responsibility doesn't rest on you alone...


4. It is God's job

Here's a very important truth.  God desires that you grow spiritually.  And He is orchestrating it behind the scenes in countless ways - through the experiences He allows you, through the relationships you have, through the sermons you hear, prayers you pray, conversations you have, etc.  Even when you think you are not growing spiritually, God might strongly disagree.  Watch and pray for eyes to see how He is growing you and stretching your faith even in ways you might not see at first glance.  Write them down if you need to.  The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians:
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  (Philippians 2:12-13)
Notice that there are two things at "work".  We are continuing to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.  The idea is that we strive to live in obedience to God and live for Him.  But the second "work" is God's work.  And it is a different tense.  This is a completed work that is already finished.  Someone once said, "We are in the process of becoming who God already sees us as."  Christ saved us.  We are in the process of living like it and in the process of being saved. (The big word for the process is sanctification...we are in the process of being sanctified or made holy or set apart.)  We do our everything to grow spiritually, knowing that it is ultimately God alone who brings it about in our lives, in His own ways and in His own timing and He who started the work in us will be faithful to complete it...and this is so certain that He already HAS completed it! 

Whose job is spiritual growth anyway?  YES...your pastor and your church play a part. are accountable for your own spiritual growth.  YES and most emphatically...God grants it, He does it, He gets the job done in His people's lives.     

This entry was posted on 7/17/2012 and is filed under , , , , , , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.