Years ago, my pastor preached a message that got me thinking about how the Old Testament was written. As in, the actual process of writing down the inspired Word of God. I began to study some passages, particularly in the book of Jeremiah, where Baruch recorded what God was telling the prophet. In Jeremiah chapter 45, I read where Jeremiah specifically communicated from the Lord to Baruch, by name. I thought this was amazing. Imagine being the scribe preparing to write down God’s Word and that Word is directed at you personally. This is what happened to Baruch. I felt I had made a major discovery, and what made it really special is that no one had told me this. I hadn’t done someone else’s Bible study. I found it on my own. This was a first-time experience for me. I realized at that moment that I had grown in my faith. I had taken a step from being fed to self-feeding. That was one of the first times I realized that spiritual growth happens over time as we obey and live out God’s Word in response to God’s Spirit.
But spiritual growth is not a simple metric and cannot be explained in easy steps.
Think about it. Have you ever considered how spiritual growth happens? Does it come to us over time as we read the Bible? Is it incorporated into our lives as we connect with other believers? Do we grow every time we hear a sermon or participate in a Bible study? While we certainly experience growth from all of these things, it can be difficult to pinpoint precise spiritual growth in our lives. Think of some moments you recognized spiritual growth in your own life. More than likely you don’t remember the growth itself, but the maturity that resulted from the growth. For example, perhaps you had a critical spirit for a long time. You may notice that you aren’t as critical as you once were, but you probably don’t recall the moment you stopped being as critical. We tend to notice our spiritual growth after the growth has taken place rather than while it is taking place.
So how does this help us as group leaders?
In their book, Transformational Discipleship, Michael Kelley, Eric Geiger, and Phillip Nation clarify that the transformational sweet spot occurs when a healthy leader shares biblical truth with a person in a vulnerable posture. As a transformational group leader, you are looking for vulnerable moments in the lives of those you lead. Perhaps they are struggling in a relationship. Perhaps they just got a new job, had a child, or lost a loved one. In these moments, people are more open to change and ready to respond to God. Our goal, as transformational group leaders, is to connect them with the Word of God. Sure, we could offer suggestions and insights to help them, but what matters most is the only thing that will actually change them: God’s Word.
As we connect people in vulnerable postures with God’s Word, He transforms and grows them. This is how we see spiritual growth take place. While these moments are key, again, they are usually not recognized until long after the growth takes place. Consider how the Word works in the life of the believer.As we connect people in vulnerable postures with God’s Word, He transforms and grows them. This is how we see spiritual growth take place. Click To Tweet
2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
We see that teaching ultimately results in training in righteousness. Along the way, when we sin and disobey God, the Word rebukes us. If we obey Christ and submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in response to the Word, we will receive correction and continue back on the path of training in righteousness. Often we remain in that stage of rebuke for long periods of time. Until we are willing to repent and turn to Christ, we will not receive correction and we will not grow. Think of times in your life that were stagnant spiritually. More than likely they happened when you were in this state of rejecting the rebuke of the Word to live as Christ commands.
As leaders, we must help people through the process of knowing and applying God’s Word to their lives. Understanding how the Word works in our lives is critical for this to take place. Transformational leaders are always looking for key moments in the lives of those they lead so they may share the Word and see transformation happen as a result of God’s work.As leaders, we must help people through the process of knowing and applying God’s Word to their lives. Understanding how the Word works in our lives is critical for this to take place. Click To Tweet