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12 STEP SPIRITUAL GROWTH PLAN

Christianity is a journey. There’s a beginning, but every step of the way is important. Use this short Personalized Spiritual Growth Plan to help guide your journey of following Jesus.

1.

Tell Someone

People love to tell good news. If you get a new job, have a new baby, or get married, that’s probably news that you want to share. People don’t keep good news to themselves. In that same way, becoming a Christian is exciting news, and you should be excited to tell others right away. Your life has been changed by God. Think about how important that is, and think about how many people need to hear about it. God wants to use you to help others know about Him. In John 1:40-42, a man named Andrew met Jesus. His first reaction was to run and tell his brother. He didn’t know a lot about Jesus…he didn’t have all the facts or all of the answers, he just told others that his life had been changed. Right now, you can tell others about Jesus. You don’t have to be a pastor or a missionary. In fact, God wants all Christians to be active in sharing their faith. This is called evangelism or witnessing. A witness just tells the judge and jury what he heard or saw. A Christian is called to tell others what God has done in their life. You can do this by sharing your testimony. Your testimony is your unique story of how you became a Christian. The apostle Paul shared his testimony with others – you can read about that in Acts 22:3-21.

 

A testimony has three basic parts:

  • Your life before becoming a Christian

  • How you became a Christian

  • What God has done or is doing in your life now

 

Take a moment and think through those three areas. You may even want to take out a sheet of paper or open up a blank document on the computer and write out your story.

2.

Baptism

Christian baptism is, according to the Bible, an outward testimony of what has occurred inwardly in a believer’s life. Christian baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Bible declares in Romans 6:3-4, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life”. In Christian baptism, the action of being immersed in the water symbolizes dying and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection.

There are two requirements before a person is baptized: 1) the person being baptized must have trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior, and 2) the person must understand what baptism signifies. If a person knows the Lord Jesus as Savior, understands that Christian baptism is a step of obedience in publicly proclaiming his faith in Christ, and desires to be baptized, then there is no reason to prevent the believer from being baptized. According to the Bible, Christian baptism is important because it is a step of obedience—publicly declaring faith in Christ and commitment to Him—an identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We’d be glad to share with you when our next baptism celebration is so that you can be baptized.

3.

Consistently Attend Church

Just like a football player needs a team, a Christian needs a church. In Matthew 16:17, Jesus said that he would build the church. The church was important to Jesus. The church was important to the first Christians who risked everything to meet together. Right now, in some places in the world, it is against the law to attend church…so Christians meet secretly, with the threat of punishment or death hanging over their heads. The church is important. You need to connect yourself to the body of Christ (a Biblical term for the church). The church is like the human body and each person serves an important part.

Everyone needs to be involved for the church to function properly. The church is not made up of perfect people, or good people, or religious people…it’s made up of people who have decided to follow Jesus – people like you. So, why be involved with church? Athletes need practice and coaching, and so do Christians. God has placed spiritual leaders in the church who will help you grow closer to God. You’ll hear God’s Word explained, and you’ll have a chance to worship God alongside other Christians. You’ll be part of that team, all working together. The church will provide you opportunities to learn more about Jesus and you’ll grow in your faith.

4.

Be a Faithful Part of a Ministry or Group

It’s healthy to do things with other people – to have friends. In the Christian life, it is no different. You need to develop relationships with people who are going through the same things as you. The church can do that. You’ll get to know others who will encourage you and not tear you down. You’ll share life experiences in a Small Group. In fact, Hebrews 10:26 teaches us that we should not miss out on meeting with other Christians. This is the reason that we have a Small Group ministry. We all need these relationships in our lives. A Small Group is a group of people that meet together during the week in somebody’s home to fellowship, talk about God’s Word and pray for each other. A church as a whole is pretty large, and it’s not possible to know everyone, but if you get connected to a Small Group, you’ll find some people that will become your spiritual family. In Small Groups, you’ll make Christian friends and grow spiritually. You can check out our current Small Group offerings at www.takethejourney.cc under the Next Steps tab or stop by the Next Steps tent at church. Opportunities to be a Small Group Leader/Host are also available.

5.

Volunteer and Serve

The church is not just a place where you come and sit…it’s a place where you can come to serve. The church is a great place to serve God. You have gifts and abilities that can help the body. In 1 Peter 4:10, Peter tells us to use them “to serve others”.

 

You can use your gifts and talents right here. Find a place where you can use your specific gifts, talents and abilities to make a difference. When we serve others, we realize that it’s not all about us. Some specific area needs you. Every Sunday morning, teams of people come together to set up for church, work with children, help people feel welcome, direct traffic flow and work with students. These groups of people serve alongside each other, and in the process of leading people from where they are to where God wants them to be, they are getting to know each other better

6.

Invite Someone to Church

One the best ways to tell people about your new faith is to invite them to church. So much of what we do on Sunday morning is designed for guests. We want everyone in our area to know about the grace and forgiveness that comes from God. You can partner with us to reach people who are far from God by simply inviting them to church. Our goal is to help them become passionate Christians who make a difference in the world.

7.

Read the Bible

As a new Christian, probably one of the most important things you can do is to read and study the Bible. The Bible is the inspired, 100% accurate and true Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s Word is living and active. It’s more than a collection of stories or words on a page…it is the very Word of God for our lives today. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that “All scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living.”

  • When you read the Bible, God will show you things about Himself

  • When you read the Bible, God will show you things in your life that need to change

  • When you read the Bible, God will teach you what it means to be a Christ follower

  • When you read the Bible you’ll get a better understanding of your purpose in life

I want to encourage you to spend time each day reading God’s Word during some quiet time.

Psalm 1:1 encourages us to meditate on the Bible. In fact, that verse teaches that your life will be blessed if you meditate on God’s Word. Don’t let that word meditate confuse you. David Nasser says that meditating on the Bible is like marinating. Just like we let a steak or a chicken breast soak in a great marinade, we think on God’s Word and let it soak into our lives. As you read the Bible, underline words or phrases that stick out. Think about what it really means. Write questions down and seek answers. Memorize key verses, and think about God’s Word as you go throughout the day. Most importantly, start reading. If you’ve got time to read this, you’ve got time to read God’s Word.

8.

Talk to God

If you want to get to know someone, you could read about them. But you might also want to talk to them. God wants to have a relationship with you – one that is real and one that is personal. The Bible is full of invitations for you to talk to God. You don’t have to pick up a phone, or send an e-mail…you can talk to the very creator of the universe right now where you are. Prayer is simply talking to God. You don’t have to use big words or flowery language. You don’t have to know fancy terms. You can talk to God just like you would talk to any friend. In fact, as a Christian, God is your Father and your Friend! In Mark 1:35, we read about Jesus himself praying to the Father. Imagine that! If Jesus needed to pray, how much more do we need to talk to God? So, how do you do it? Prayer is just talking to God. It’s a two way, direct-connect, with no long distance charges. It’s a child talking to a father, and the ultimate phone-a-friend. Read the red sidebar section on prayer to guide you.

9.

Live for Jesus

Statistics tell us that there isn’t any practical difference between Christians and non-Christians. Most Christians live lives that don’t model the teachings, the life or the love that Jesus exhibited. Unfortunately, this has turned many people away from wanting to be a follower of Jesus. Most Christians live lives just like everybody else. So, here’s the big question… If you have given your life to Christ, and you are now a Christ-follower, is there something different about your life? Or are you really just like everyone else, with the minor exception of going to church every now and then. As a Christian, our lives ought to be radically different! We are not in charge of our lives – Jesus is. The Bible says that Jesus ought to be Savior and Lord. Nearly everyone wants a savior. If you’re drowning – you certainly want someone to save you. Most people would be interested in getting all they can from Jesus. But there’s a huge difference between making Him Savior and making Him Lord. Philippians 2:12 says that one day “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Surrendering to the Lordship of Jesus means that you willingly make Him the boss of your life. He’s not riding in the car with you…He’s driving the car. He’s not the co-pilot; He’s the pilot. He is large and in charge. In John 13:13, Jesus asked a very important question…”why do you call me teacher and Lord and NOT DO WHAT I SAY?” He created you… He saved you….He gives you all sorts of blessings…He has earned the right to be your Lord. How can we be considered faithful followers of Jesus, yet be disobedient in various areas of our lives? Does Jesus have control of your life, or are you playing Christian? Here is the best part. When Jesus is Lord, you’ll have unexplainable peace from God. You’ll rest in the fact that He is in charge. You won’t worry as much. You won’t be as restless because you know that the very creator of the universe is in the driver’s seat…and He knows the way.

10.

Be a Cheerful Giver

“Oh no, please don’t mention money”. Many of us have experienced this thought at some point in our spiritual journey but we would be Biblically wrong not to share what God’s word says about giving. Paul said in 2 Cor 9:7, “God loves a cheerful giver”. When we give generously and with a willing heart, God assures us He will watch over us and provide for us (Isaiah 58:9; Psalm 41:1-3; Proverbs 22:9; 2 Corinthians 9:8, 11). Luke reminds us of Jesus’ words in Acts 20:35 “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. The second letter to the Corinthians reveals a number of inspiring truths that should help us become cheerful givers. As Paul wisely taught in 2 Cor. 9:6, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously”. Solomon also stated this a thousand years earlier in Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing”. And Jesus Himself told us in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap”. The Bible is clear—we cannot out-give our gracious Creator when we become cheerful givers. The only place in the Bible where God invites us to test Him is Malachi 3:10 where He is talking about our offerings made to Him: “Test me in this, says the LORD Almighty and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Quite simply our greatest motivation for cheerful and generous giving should be that it pleases the Lord and reflects His gift of salvation to us. Cheerful giving should be a way of life for the Christian who understands the grace of God.

11.

Seek Purpose

The desire to have a meaningful existence is innate in all of us. It’s the drive behind our late nights in the office, our early mornings on the practice field, and our long hours making sure the house looks perfect and the kids are well-behaved. We want to know that what we do matters, that we are making a difference. And if we don’t understand why we are here or what we were made for, we’ll fill that need with whatever seems right at the time.

The Bible teaches that finding our purpose in anything other than the Lord will always leave us unfulfilled. After observing all the ways people searched for meaning in their lives apart from God, Solomon, one of the wisest and wealthiest kings to ever live, wrote, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

 

Only the Lord has the answers you are looking for, and He promises that if you’ll seek your purpose in Him, your life will have an eternal impact (Matthew 6:33). 

12.

Be a Disciple

In Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus taught us to go into all the world and make disciples. Disciples are people who decide to follow Jesus and then are taught by the Holy Spirit, the Bible and other Christians to live their lives doing what He did. Every follower of Jesus has the ability to mentor someone at some level; the new believer inviting a lost friend to church is pointing the way to Jesus. A stronger Christian who takes the time to help encourage a brother in Christ who needs help in overcoming an area of sin or how to read the Bible is pointing the way to a closer walk with Jesus. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another”.

 

Look around your life and determine who God would have you help become a follower or stronger follower of Jesus and you will be helping Jesus make disciples of the world. Go make a difference in someone’s life.