I believe we are doing a good job in the "going" part of the Great Commission, at least in our community. I believe there are a few minor tweaks we will be making for this summer Growth Group semester that will improve the "making disciples" part of Jesus' command. At Ridgeview, we have people at all different levels of spiritual maturity. We have new Christians (infants) who are just learning the truth of the Bible. We have Christians in our church who are on the child level who are coming out of the infant stage of Christianity and are growing spiritually, developing habits of Bible study and prayer, and giving of their time and money to God, and are building relationships with God's people. We have people who are young adults in their spiritual journey. Just like natural children, spiritual children do go into things with the attitude of "it's more about me." Christians who are young adults in their faith move into more of an attitude of becoming less self-centered and more others centered. They begin to see themselves as a minister. They tithe and give their time not out of duty or sense of obligation, but out of a sense of thankfulness and love. Then, there are those who are spiritual parents. They have not arrived spiritually but they are growing and serving. They see themselves as one who intentionally needs to invest in others so they can make disciples who are making disciples. Parents reproduce and make babies!
My question is where are you? Are you at the infant level in your discipleship stage? The child level? The young adult level? The parent level? There is nothing wrong about being at the infant or child level in your Christian faith. But, God does not want you to stay in that stage. I recently saw a documentary on television about a thirty year old man who is known as an adult baby. He had the capacity to feed himself but chose as he came home at the end of the day a caretaker to feed him, put diapers on him, wear kid's pajamas, and tuck him in his adult sized crib at night. He even built an adult high chair. It was the strangest thing I'd ever seen in my life because that is not normal! It is not normal, or it should not be normal, nor is it God's will for Christians to stay stuck in the child level. The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:2-3, "Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good."
Here's my challenge. We are beginning our summer Growth Groups semester starting this Sunday, June 12. We are not doing any topical type studies by a popular Christian author or going to go through a Christian devotional book. Nothing wrong with them. But, we are simply going to go through the Gospels this summer and take one story each week from the Bible and go on this journey of "Following Jesus Together." MY CHALLENGE FOR YOU IS TO JOIN A GROWTH GROUP THIS SUMMER! Why? BECAUSE I BELIEVE THEY ARE THE BEST TOOLS WE HAVE IN THE CHURCH WHEN COMBINED WITH THE BIBLE & THE HOLY SPIRIT TO MAKE DISICIPLES WHO MAKE DISCIPLES! The Bible says in Hebrews 3:12-13, "See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." You cannot make disciples in the church without being in relationship with other believers who are open and transparent with one another around the Word of God.
When we combine Growth Groups (people who are in a relational environment with one another) who are taking the stories in the Bible and in cooperation with the Holy Spirit are open and honest with one another, we will see disciples made. We will see disciples who follow Christ, are being changed by Christ, and are committed to the mission of Christ.We will see people move from the infant stage of Christianity to the parent stage where they are investing in others to raise others up to become spiritual parents themselves. Listed below are the Growth Groups we are offering this summer. You can sign up for them Sunday on your Connection Card or at the Growth Groups table, or you can contact Paul Eill (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find a Growth Group for you. Make the choice today. God has called you to be a disciple who makes disciples!
*Brown Growth Group: Sundays, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the home of Gloria Bupp (10 Windward Peak Ct, Greer)
*Hargrove Growth Group: Sundays, 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the home of Tommy & Tanya Hargrove (14 Swenson Ct, Taylors)
*Eill Growth Group: Tuesdays, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the home of Paul & Paula Eill (21 Cottage Ln, Taylors)
*Culbertson Growth Group: Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the home of Rex & Carolyn Culbertson (4476 Hawkins Rd, Greer)