Chapter 6: But Don't Stay that Way: Creating a Culture of Growth
A really interesting chapter that I'm going to need to reread to better understand it. Here are some good quotes.
"How do people grow? What does it really take to grow spiritually? It's very simple - do life with God."
"Spiritual growth is a messy process. Leaders must asses trajectory carefully - is this a hard-hearted 'mature' Christ-follower, heading away from God and needing church discipline so he won't do damage to community? Or is this a toddler trying hard to walk the way of Christ but falling and failing as she learns to trust? Different people exhibiting the same outward behavior may actually be headed in opposite directions and need drastically different approaches to help them move forward on the way of Christ. Some need discipline, some just need patience."
The chapter then went on to describe the discipleship process at Gateway. They have a spiritual formation path called The Way of Christ. The goal of this process is to see people shaped into what they call Spiritual Maturity. They have two different levels. Their Running Group (think small groups) and their Running Partners (think accountability groups). The Running Partners are 2 or 3 people who are a part of the same Running Group. Their Picture of Maturity are people who are Loving God, Loving People, Building Character, and Building Christ's Church.
This can compare to our "5."
There were some really interesting comments regarding their Running Partners and your traditional "accountability group."
"'Accountability' has come to mean for many: asking each other if they are living up to the standard, offering forgiveness if they've fallen short, then encouraging each other to try harder. Henry Cloud says, 'This common evangelical mode of operation is a good picture of the law at work.' This style of accountability can expose a problem, but it doesn't fix it.
"What the person needs is grace and truth, where he is not condemned, even in failure, and where he hears the truth that he's unable to become what God intends just by trying harder. This kind of ministry directs him to depend on God's Spirit, by pointing him to places where he can be given what he cannot provide for himself, like support, structure, healing, and help with the appetites driving the behavior."
The 4 "Rules of Running"
1) Accept and encourage as often as possible
2) Ask questions often and give advice only with permission
a) What do you think God is trying to do in your life right now?
b) If there's one area in loving God, loving people, building character or building Christ's church you need to focus on right now, what would it be?
c) What's the one thing you will intentionally do this week to allow God to grow you up in this area?
3) Give reproof only when absolutely necessary
4) Give condemnation - never. Protect confidentiality - always.
"We ask Running Partners on The Way of Christ to use an assessment we developed to yearly evaluate spiritual growth in the areas of Loving God, Loving People, Buidling Character, and Building Christ's Church."
A great chapter. I'll reread it tonight.