Spiritual Maturity. How do you measure it?
Jim Putman defines the upper stages of spiritual growth as Spiritual Parenting in his book Real Life Discipleship. By definition, to be a parent, you must have children, either by birth or adoption. Spiritually, that would mean that you are discipling people that you either led to Christ or adopted at some point short of their maturity.
If our goal as small group leaders is to help people mature in Christ shouldn’t we desire to see them grow exponentially? To do that, they must be equipped for both evangelism and discipleship, not only their own, but to be able to pass that on to others. (2 Timothy 2:2)
Another challenge for us as leaders is that we can’t lead people where we are not willing to go ourselves. Therefore, we’ve got to bring our A game to the table. For some, that seems pretty far away. So let’s look at some simple ideas to help you and your group take steps toward maturity in the area of evangelism.
Ideas to Grow You
1. Learn how to present the gospel. At our recent Small Group Leader Gathering, we focused on the Three Circles Gospel Presentation. Check it out here.
2. Set a goal to start a spiritual conversation every __________ (day, week, etc.) Since we are all at different steps, you decide on a good next step for you. Often we start spiritual conversations and don’t get to share the gospel, so we’ll set a goal on the things we can control.
3. Get some accountability. Hopefully you already have someone that you share your spiritual life with. Those are called accountability partners, spiritual growth partners, or just friends. Share your goal and ask your friend to check back with you next time you meet.
4. Make a list and pray for friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc. Prayer is important in so many ways. Ask God to provide opportunities. Often prayer helps us remember their spiritual condition and creates compassion in us. It reminds us that salvation is a work of God.
Ideas to Grow Your Group
1. Equip them to share the gospel. After you learn the Three Circles, take an entire session or two to teach and practice sharing the gospel. Teach the group how to enter spiritual conversations as well.
2. Challenge them to share the gospel. Ask them to set a goal just as you did.
3. Give some accountability. Remind them by asking for stories and prayer requests. Schedule a recurring time, maybe the first meeting of each month, to ask your group how they are doing in starting spiritual conversations. Ask them to tell how it went.
4. Let group members practice in front of the group. This can be tough, but let the group know that they learn by doing, and they don’t have to be perfect. This only takes a couple of minutes of group time and it’s time well spent.
5. Pray together for people on their list. Concern for the lost can be contagious. Keep the flame burning and work together in prayer for them.
6. Find opportunities to share Christ together. Granted, the best success is when we work within existing relationships, but going across town or on a mission trip together is a great way to grow and God often uses that as well. Often many seeds are planted before someone comes to Christ.
7. Use your group to reach people. As culture shifts, sometimes it easier for people to come to Christ after they build some relationships within a group or a church. Leverage the love and care of your group as a bold witness of Christ.
From our Executive Pastor to the newest small group member, we are called to humbly share the gospel, grow spiritually and hold each other accountable as a faith family. So, feel free to ask me the last time I started a spiritual conversation: we all need to pursue a life of boldness and accountability.