The right teaching, the right training, the right coaching can only get you so far. The right practice of what you learned is necessary to grow in anything. This is as much true for our spirtual growth as it is true in any other area of life.In the years that I have spent in the pastorate, a mistake that I have made was that I kept spending a lot of effort in providing a lot of good information to as many members who were interested in learning. I hoped that what they learned would result in their growth in love for God and in their serving God. To my surprise, it only resulted in bloated empty knowledge in many of the members. Paul rightly called the Corinthians puffed up. They had knowledge, but they lacked spiritual formation – they lacked love for God and people.
Where was I going wrong? My fault was on concentrating on the wrong metrics. I longed to see growth in knowledge. But I should have focussed on spiritual formation. To seek growth in spritual fruit would have resulted in growing fear of the LORD. That in turn would have produced more Christ-like, mature Christians.
On the other hand there were also other members who did not bother to invest time and effort in learning. They thought that learning and bible knowledge was not worth their time. The result – unbiblical spirituality. A piety that was not biblically informed and therefore they appear suspect frequently.
I am thankful for those who balanced their increasing knowledge with increasing practice. The result was maturing Christians. This is what I should be focussing on. The right measure is not how much one knows, but rather how much one obeys.
The Path Ahead in Spiritual Formation
While this knowledge has come to me now, I have to still figure out how to go about it. I trust God will grant the necessary wisdom. At this point I am hoping to spend more time with people under my care in prayer, in conversation and in spiritual formation. To give much importance to service and to loving God.
This entire evaluation was part of one of the events in the landmark week that I talked about. I am grateful for the elders that I get to work with. Their leadership and love for Cross Cultured Church is commendable. Together we spent time reading Dr. Steve Smith’s Increasing Church Capacity Primer. The book helped us evaluate the various areas of the church and look at how we can address the most pressing issues that we are currently facing.
Hopefully in about 5 years time, I will have a post on how things have changed since this week.