Research

Spiritual Maturity and its Importance

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
We are called to spiritual growth-that is, the formation of the investment of faith Christ gives us that we give back to Him in dividends.

We are called to spiritual growth-that is, the formation of the investment of faith Christ gives us that we give back to Him in dividends. This is a deep conviction of our faith, a practiced submission that shows our obedience, and a life of personal and relational maturity. We have to listen to God; if not, we will not learn and then we will not grow and then we will not have a life of transformation and growth. Instead, we experience a storm-tossed sea of life, wayward in every perspective because our eyes and ears are not upon our Lord (Hebrews chap 1-6; James 1).

Research Conducted between 1996 and 2001:

· Eighty-three percent (83%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said their people were content in their Christian faith.

· Eighty-one percent (81%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said they had no regular or effective discipleship program or effort to mentor their people at their church.

· Eighty-one percent (81%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said there was no primary teaching from the pulpit to challenge or deepen their people's Christian formation (spiritual growth and biblical application) at their church.

· Seventy-eight percent (78%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said they either are or will focus on new trends or ideas to try fix something they feel is not working right. Seventy percent (70%) stated this is where their primary time is spent, whereas only 22% of those sought answers for their church problems from God's Word, good theological sources, or going to more trained and experienced pastors for advice.

· Sixty-nine percent (69%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said that more than 70% of their congregation members do not assess their spiritual journey or have a means to effectively examine their spiritual lives, such as a mentor or pastor to talk with.

· Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said that more than 68% of their congregational members are not in an accountability or small group.

· Sixty-seven percent (67%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said there is no significant effort from the leadership to be devoted, as a church, to spiritual growth. Most think this is to be from the pulpit only and/or in the privacy of the member's home.

· Sixty-two percent (62%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said there was little to no effort in teaching spiritual maturity or Christian formation from the small groups, such as doctrine, prayer, and/or essentials of growing in Christ.

· Sixty-one percent (61%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said that their duty as leaders was first to pursue their faith, or else placed it as a significant factor.

Research Conducted between 2002 and 2007:

· Sixty-percent (60%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said that more than 60% of their congregational members do not have an accurate view of biblical truths.

· Sixty-percent (60%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said that more than 60% of their congregational members do not have an accurate view of their personal spiritual growth. They believe they are growing, but put little to no effort into their growth. Thus, their feelings are in contradiction to fact as perceived by the pastors.

· Fifty-six percent (56%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said that more than 60% of their congregational members consider themselves as conservative Christians but do not practice that in how they talk, behave, or vote in elections.

· Fifty-four percent (54%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said there was a little to no effort put into teaching spiritual maturity or Christian formation in the adult Sunday school classes or small groups.

· Fifty-three percent (53%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said that more than 60% of their congregation members do not have a daily devotional life nor are devoted to growing their spiritual lives.

· Forty-three percent (43%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said they are now or will be focusing on new trends that are not Bible-based, seeking to try something new because they are dissatisfied with what has been done before.

· Forty-one percent (41%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said that spiritual growth was a prime factor in their leadership selection and training.

How sad it is when Christians go un-discipled because they do not think it is necessary or important or relevant-to miss the fact that Christ Himself tells us that the chief role and duty of a church is to train and disciple its people so they can know and grow in Christ and thus be an impact in the world. When we do not do this, we end up useless, as leftover crumbs under the feast table of the kingdom. Perhaps some milk has been drunk, but no meat, no impact, no worthiness of contact of our life in Him to our situation and opportunities, so we miss out on the marvels of being used in His kingdom (Matt. 28:11-20; 2 Cor. 5:20; Heb. 4:11).

How long can you go on in your Christian faith without learning and growing? How will you lead your life or do what is right? To do what is right, we have to know what is right; to grow in Christ, we have to know Christ, and we know Him by knowing His Word. For us to mature in our faith formation we have to grow; and we grow by listening to the solid food God has for us in His Word. In this way, we will be trained to know how to lead godly lives and be a resource and inspiration and perhaps an instructor in the ways of the faith to others too.

Know this; we are living in the certainty of God's Promise. We are called to take hold of the hope offered by our Lord with faith and patience and we will inherit that which has been promised!

© 2008, Research from 1996- 2007, R. J. Krejcir, Ph.D., Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development www.churchleadership.org

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