Lesson 5 - A Growing People

Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own

Luke 12:27
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Anything that God controls grows.  Flowers, birds of the air, fish in the sea.  God's natural world teaches us that growth is a part His plan.  God's word speaks clearly that spiritual growth is a part of His plan as well (1 Peter 2:2, 2 Peter 3:18).  Of course "growth" can be defined in two ways; 1) Personal spiritual growth, 2) Growing the membership with the local congregation.  In this lesson we will focus on personal spiritual growth so we can be strong brush strokes of the Master.  If we grow spiritually as individuals and collectively as a congregation the numerical growth will begin to take care of itself (Ephesians 4:15-16).

Like any decision we make the only way to truly succeed is to set goals and work towards accomplishing them.  If we are to achieve spiritual growth we must plan out our path as we seek to increase spiritually.  Setting our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2) will prepare the rest of our lives to grow.

Deciding to grow can be frightening.  Most people are so afraid of failure that we never begin the journey.  Fear of failure is a doubt Satan uses to stunt our growth!  Growth is Godly so growing is possible!  Too often we feel like we cannot grasp biblical concepts so we mentally decide to stay put spiritually.  We must defeat our own fear and decide to grow!  The only thing limiting our growth is us.  In Mark 4:30-12 Jesus tells us of the tiny mustard seed that grows into a tree.  Let's have the faith of a mustard seed and ready ourselves for growth.

Once we have up our minds that we are going to grow spiritually we need to create and plan for that growth.  Don't just study to learn something new like the Athenians (Acts 17:21), study to truly become a brighter brush stroke of the master.  Here are a few tangible idea to consider when you have decided to grow:

1. Start by creating a framework for success.  Anytime you begin a new endeavor you are the most motivated at the beginning of your journey.  During this time of motivation create an environment that will last beyond the excitement that sometimes falters over time.  Use this time to set goals and create the plan you will use to reach them.  Gather any paper, pens or other supplies you might need.  Purchase a study guide to use.  You may want to get a concordance, bible dictionary or other resource material.  Get yourself organized and ready to grow.

2. Share your goals with others.  There is power and strength in being accountable to one another.  When you feel yourself beginning to weaken you will be able to call upon your brother or sister for encouragement.  Likewise you will always have a person with which to study.  Setup "bible study dates" and come together to discuss the scriptures in a close personal way.  As your knowledge grows so will your relationships with Christ' church.

3. Set small milestones and celebrate your success.  This will allow you to achieve results and will develop your confidence.  Breaking down any goal into smaller parts makes the goal seem less daunting and easier to conquer.  Don't start out by saying "I'm going to memorize the New Testament."  Instead set smaller goals like memorizing one verse a week.  Go around the diner table at night and let each person quote the verse.  At the end of the week celebrate what you have learned with a treat for the whole family.  In one year your family could have 52 verses memorized!

When you decide to grow you may face opposition.  Paul faced this when he tried to teach Festus (Acts 26:24).  You may even face opposition from within the church (guilt may drive others to try to discourage your growth).  Your attitude to learn about God will help you stay of track.  Know that what you learn will help you reach heaven and be able to effect the paths of others as well.

As we mentioned at the start of this lesson there are two types of growth.  Personal spiritual growth and numeric growth of the congregation.  As the membership grows their personal knowledge this will become a resource that will directly impact the numeric growth (Acts 12:24).  A membership filled with the Word of God will be able to effectively reach a dying world.  Confidence will grow and so will our willingness to share what we have learned with others.  We must have the attitude that we CAN DO IT!  We can read God's Word.  We can learn God's Word.  We can understand God's Word.  Then we can share God's Word!


Philippians 3:12
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Luke 12:27
Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.

Ephesians 4:15-16    
but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ  16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

1 Peter 2:2
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation

2 Peter 3:18
but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Colossians 3:2
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

Mark 4:30-12
And He said, How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, 32 yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that the birds of the air can nest under its shade.

Acts 17:21
(Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)

Acts 26:24
While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus *said in a loud voice, Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad.

Acts 12:24
But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied.