We have been talking a lot as a staff about how easy it is to recognize and celebrate spiritual growth in new believers. When they come to faith or make massive lifestyle changes or major shifts in their world view, everyone can easily see it. After we have been Christians a while, though, the growth is more difficult observe or even recognize in our own life.
My Community Group has been trying to tackle this issue. We started our group in August of 2006. We spent the first couple of months getting to know each other, telling our stories and having fun together. Through that time, I can say that we truly became friends. After that, rather than jump right into a curriculum of some kind, we decided to do something different. Everyone shared one area of their life where they wanted to see God change them over the course of the next year. We promised to pray for each other about it and check in with each other from time to time to see how it was going.
Last night was an official “check in”. We divided up the men and women this time and just shared with each other how it was going. I’m sure the women’s time went great- they never have a problem opening up- and our men’s time went great as well. The guys very openly shared successes and failures in each of the areas we are focussing on. It was an environment where we weren’t satisfied with the failures, but not condemning either. We talked about how we might me able to continue to grow in each of the areas. I think the focus and intentionality of this has caused us all to make some pretty significant steps toward growth.
I left the meeting last night thinking, “Wow, we just put into practice the principle in Hebrews 10:24…“let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” What a novel idea- sharing with each other areas we need to grow and encouraging each other to do it. It seems so simple- I’m not sure why it seems so hard to do it. It probably has something to do with our sin nature. 🙂
Well, over the course of the evening we didn’t open the Bible or learn any new theology. We didn’t share prayer requests or even pray. I guess it was a wasted evening. Maybe next time we can do something spiritual and start a hamartology study. Oh well, live and learn.