Church Planting: Spiritual Maturity

“Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly–mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you still are not ready. You are still worldly…” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

A few weeks back I came across a discipleship book, Real-Life Discipleship, that laid out different levels of spiritual growth like a biological lifecycle. What was most interesting was their use of different phrases to reflect what stage the person found themself in:

Spiritually “unborn”: 

  • “God is dead”
  • “There is no hell because God is love”
  • “I’ve been a good person so I’ll be okay”
  • “The Bible is a bunch of myths and stories”

Spiritual Infant:

  • “I believe in Jesus, but my church is outdoors”
  • “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian”

Spiritual Child: (Self-focused)

  • “I didn’t like the worship music today”
  • “I like my small group as it is, why do we need more people?”
  • “I’m not being fed, so I am going to another church”

Spiritual Young Adult:  (Zealous)

  • “I love my group, but there are others who need a group like this…you should do something about that.”
  • “I blew it.  I really thought I had this faith stuff worked out, but I must have done something wrong.”
Spiritual Parent:  (Outward Motivated)
  • “When I read [heard] this message, it made me think about you.”
  • “What can I pray for you?”
Having just finished another book about the dangers of comparison and how that brings feelings of shame, inadequacy and fear into our lives, these categories should not be gauges to compare our lives to one another–as we are told that God will be our spiritual judge.  Rather, these can be helpful categories to understand where our faith life may be and to consider what would it look like to grow in our own faith.  Because–as Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:20, in order to become His disciple it is not just enough to “follow him” but ultimately we have to become disciple-makers ourselves (Spiritual parents).
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”  1 Corinthians 13:11

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