Every Christian wants to grow spiritually. Our lifelong goal as disciples is to be more like our Lord. As the apostle Paul sought to do with those to whom he ministered, “…we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of Him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
To this end, Recife’s downtown congregation has started a new training program based on Peter Scazzero’s book “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature While Remaining Emotionally Immature.” This book was recommended to us by Bio and Mozart, evangelists with the congregation in Recife’s suburb of Sao Lourenço. They used it last year and claim it gets to the heart of the problem of leadership training. It’s not just learning Bible knowledge, but it’s the proper application in all aspects of our lives.
The elders read the book first, then began with an introductory meeting in November to present the idea to 40 selected members. Most of these are couples, but some are singles. Each received a copy of the book as well as the companion workbook. We then began meeting once a month on a Saturday evening, dividing the group up into three smaller groups, which each one of the elders leads. If it works out as we hope, a dozen men from this group will be prepared who can then pass it on to more members of the church.
In this book, the author emphasizes the need for certain practices in addition to Bible reading to grow spiritually. He cites the example of a member of his congregation who, in spite of being a Christian for 22 years, feels like he is a one-year Christian 22 times over. He was frustrated in his efforts to grow spiritually.
While we are eager to develop our relationship with God, it doesn’t seem like we can take enough time to be with Him. We live in a culture that tells us if we’re not busy, we’re guilty of wasting time and not being productive. Cultivating a growing spirituality in our present situation requires a thoughtful, conscious, and purposeful plan.
It’s our hope that this program will be a step in that direction “…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10)