I recently came across a staff meeting podcast that Andy Stanley did for the people at Northpoint where he addressed the issue of growing spiritually at a "seeker" church. I loved his take on it so here are my notes plus some additional thoughts from me:
Answering Questions about Growing Spiritually
at Church of the Suncoast
Q: What is our spiritual growth or discipleship model?
A: We want people to fulfill our purpose statement. Take a next step with God by:
Loving Up (Worship, Sunday Services)
Reaching Out (Influencing Others for Christ and Inviting Them to Church)
Growing Within (Community Groups, Serving, Giving, Personal Disciplines)
Spiritual growth is not a linear progression. It is cyclical. A Sunday worship experience or serving on a team will mean different things to your faith at different stages of life. You don’t complete one and then move on the next, then the next, then what? We want people to stay in those things and God will grow a person’s faith through seasons of life and circumstances.
If you are already in all of those things then great! Keep on because God will grow you the more you are exposed to them.
Q: What about new believers?
A: Specifically which one? Are we talking about a general group or a person? Is there something we need to do for a specific new believer? We can deal with that! We can track the growth of specific people, we can’t as a group. We can’t rush growth.
Q: What do you have for mature believers?
A: We have opportunities for you to pour your life out into the lives of people that are not as mature. Mature believers do not need another Bible study or “deeper” worship. If you can use the internet then you can find answers to any question you might have. Mature believers should know better than this. What we need are people willing to share what they know with new believers and mentor them in our various environments. Maturity is not about only “knowing” more stuff!
(Most of the time this question comes from a group of people getting together and talking about all the things they would change about the pastor or the church. The reality is a mature believer may never “learn” anything new at our church and that is OK. If a person needs to learn there are tons of resources we can point them to like books, blogs, and websites)
At our church we have endless opportunities for you to pour your mature faith out into the lives of people that are not as far along as you are through relationships and authentic community.
Mature believers need to learn to be self - feeders through a daily quite time and learning to research things on their own. A sign of maturity is the ability to feed yourself and not always be dependant on the preacher, teacher, and or leader. The point of being a mature believer is being a self - feeder and able to feed others.