A conversation with someone last year produced this comment from them, he is an 18 year old in a 38 year old body. The point was that he was still acting like a teenager, even though he should be an adult. I have recently been conducting an informal survey. I have been asking Christians, if the Christian life is seen in stages, childhood, adolescence, young adult, mature adult, and in terms of spiritual development, what percentage of American church members have not made it out of childhood? I wish I could say that I have been surprised by the answers, but actually they are only confirming what I suspected. I have heard everything from 65% to 98% have never grown up to adulthood. The majority of the answers have been in the 90 to 95% range. So why aren’t Christians growing in spiritual maturity?
The apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:18, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God desires that we grow in spiritual maturity. God’s Word provides us with all of the tools for growth. Maybe there is something wrong with how we are doing “Church” in our culture.
Maybe we need to realize that the “Sunday Morning Event” is not designed primarily to produce growth. They tell us,(whoever they is), they tell us that the average attention span of a man is about 7 minutes. “They” tell us that is because TV has programmed us that way and then we get a commercial. So it is not likely that we are going to retain much information from our “event” focus.
Jesus said, “Go and MAKE DISCIPLES.” That implies that disciples are made, not born. We need to refocu our attention on how the discipleship process really works. Jesus called twelve men to follow Him. He then poured His life into them, and really focused on three, John, Peter, and James. He modeled life. He gave instructions. He sent them out to practice what they learned. They came back together and debriefed over the experiences. Jesus held them accountable and called them to reproduction. He shepherded these men.
How many people can one person shepherd? I don’t know the answer, but I know it is not many. Maybe ten, or twelve, or fourteen. It probably varies depending on a person’s skill, but God chose to limit Himself to twelve primarily. One can disciple twelve, or three, who can in turn do the same, and ultimately everyone in the church is included.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27). He also said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
(Matt. 4:190. as you ponder what this might mean, consider again the question, Are you growing UP, or just growing OLD as a Christian?