Five Areas of Call - Spiritual Growth
Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, well versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and expounded to him the way of God more accurately. - Acts 18:24-26
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:14-17
When we speak of spiritual growth, we mean growing more deeply in our lives with God. We also mean to be visibly and progressively better at loving God and our neighbors.
Spiritual growth has a very large individual component. It is the responsibility of individuals to advance their own spiritual development through study, observation, and taking advantage of opportunities presented to them.
There is also the community’s responsibility to the spiritual growth of its members which consists of:
Creating an awareness within the members to seek spiritual growth
Supporting that spiritual growth with programs and opportunities that inform our development
Encouraging the members
Stories are a very effective means of teaching. The bible is full of stories that instruct us on the ways of God. Jesus himself used stories and parables to make his message understandable and memorable. Every church has a million stories that can be effective testimonies of how its members have applied their faith in the community around them, leading to spiritual development of the members.
Spiritual development will occur primarily through a conscious discipline of things like service to others, Sunday worship, listening to good sermons, music, or Bible study, to name just a few. Indeed, a discipline in these types of activities is a necessary component of growing more deeply in our lives with God. While times of despair or times of trial are not things we seek, it is true that people can experience a step change in their spiritual growth during those periods. Those are the times when God can prune away our complacency and comfort, bringing awakening and new life.
How can St. Paul’s create avenues that support and encourage our individual spiritual growth?