How many spiritual giants do you have in your church? Are you a spiritual giant? Is there a process for becoming a spiritual giant? What does a spiritual giant look like?
I do see a process for becoming a spiritual giant. Call it sanctification if you like. It is the joyous journey of our earthly path in following Jesus. I will share with you five ways to be about that spiritual maturation. But first the context.
It seems to me that our culture has established very low expectations for following Jesus. Believe in God. Live life as you want because God is driven by gracious love. Die and go to heaven! I don’t know how we got to such a place.
I appreciate the life witness and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a German pastor during the time of World War II. He was rather drawn to a pacifistic understanding of Jesus. But he couldn’t stand to see people dying at the hands of Hitler. So he joined an effort to assassinate the German leader. The plot failed, and Bonhoeffer was executed.
Bonhoeffer brought integrity to his words about the cost of discipleship as he experienced the actions of the Third Reich. At the same time, he saw an emerging western attitude of taking God’s grace for granted. He called it cheap grace. That western cultural shift, for me, is the beginning for how we got to today where 15% of Americans worship as Christians on a given weekend.
What is the way forward? We need spiritual giants who point the way to Jesus and witness to a life worthy of modeling. Let me tell you about an incredible illustration.
Joyce has claimed the fullness of eternity. She exuded the joy in “Joyce.” Worship was more profound when she was present. I could have read the dictionary for the sermon, and she would have experienced Jesus. Joyce is a spiritual giant. She touched other people’s lives in powerful ways. I am looking for more such people. So what are the five steps to help us get there?
- The first step to becoming a spiritual giant is to have intentional discipleship activities in your life. At The Effective Church Group, we call them the discipleship questions which we steadfastly hold people to each week as far as: 1) what intrigued you from reading the Bible, 2) what did you hear from God in prayer, 3) how did you share your faith, 4) how did you live out a witness of faith, and 5) how did you encourage someone in their faith journey.
- The second step is having a congregational behavior covenant. We suggest using the “one-anothers” of the Bible (love one another, serve one another, etc.) with leaders in the church to develop a totally practical explanation for how your congregation, which ultimately votes to approve this, lives out these imperatives.
- Next, follow that up with a leadership covenant. Jesus makes it clear that leaders are held to a higher standard of accountability. There is no room for a church leader to get in the way of someone’s faith journey through an example that points away from Jesus.
- The fourth step is a pivotal one. It is transformational small groups. Many of our churches have had less than happy results from small groups. They need to be transformational in a spiritual sense. Such a group includes: 1) community, 2) transparency, 3) prayer that prays at the moment it is needed, 4) accountability, and 5) leadership development or multiplication that equips a new leader.
- The last step is a commercial shared without shame. If any of this connects with you, then please consider coming to the Radical Disciple Making Conference as we flesh out these steps in much greater detail for the unique perspective of your setting. Nothing is more important for the church than making disciples who make disciples. Check out the fall 2016 schedule here: http://radicaldisciplemaking.com/.