“How much longer until we get there, daddy?”
I am pretty sure I annoyed my parents with the number of times I asked that question. I have heard the question even more as a parent. Regardless of whether the drive is 30 minutes or 3 hours, kids want to know where they are on the journey and “how much longer” it will take to get there.
Many Christians ask a similar question about their spiritual journey. How long will it take to be like Jesus? Where am I on that journey and what is my next step? If you are asking questions similar to these, Westside’s refreshed Spiritual Growth Guide could be a very helpful resource.
“You are Here.” The Benefit of a Guide
On a recent vacation, my family visited the Mall of America, the second largest mall in the United States. When we stepped into that enormous building, I had no idea where I was or where I wanted to go. I was relieved to find the map with the bold red “YOU ARE HERE” dot. Once I knew where I was in relationship to the rest of the mall, I could easily discern the places I wanted to go and know how to get there.
Our Spiritual Growth Guide provides a similar confidence for your spiritual journey. By spelling out the three phases of spiritual development, the guide will help you discern where you are in the journey, what the destination looks like, and what next steps can help get you there.
The Heart Behind the Refresh
Many Westsiders are familiar with the four-phase “Seeker, Believer, Follower, and Leader” Spiritual Growth guide. While this model served us well for nearly a decade, there were three primary reasons for transitioning to our three-phase “Exploring, Developing, and Influencing” model.
- Actions are more clear than labels
Our old labels required adequate definition to minimize confusion. For example, the word “Leader” in the old model implied the presence of a spiritual gift that is not common to all. Jesus does desire that we all become people of spiritual influence, but not necessarily through leading. The confusion around the term caused many people to disqualified themselves from pursuing that level of spiritual formation.
- Alignment with everyday life increases clarity
A vast majority of people have experienced growth through education. Simple reflection on that growth will reveal the progression of exploring, developing, and influencing. Education is only one of many possible examples of this in life.
For example, my wife is a Physical Therapist, but she did not enter 1st Grade with that career in mind. She started like most of us; with “reading, writing, and arithmetics.” Even if she didn’t realize it, she was exploring the spectrum of education possibilities. In high school, her passion for the sciences led her to develop in that field by choosing particular classes over others. During that development, she decided she wanted to influence the world as a physical therapist and continued her training to do so.
Jesus followed this natural pattern of the spiritual formation with His disciples. Jesus first invited His disciples to explore (John 1:39-41). Jesus then invited His disciples to intentionally develop (Matt 4:19). In the development, Jesus was empowering His disciples to influence others (John 21: 15-17).
- Applying steps to all three facets of our mission increases growth.
Westside’s mission is to Love Jesus, Become Like Jesus, and Share Jesus. That is the definition of a disciple! The purpose of a Spiritual Growth Guide is to help people Love Jesus, Become Like Jesus, and Share Jesus more completely over time. Our old guide had a “one-size fits all” and linear nature that did not allow someone to measure their growth by mission component.
For example, I know many people who would say they are highly developed in Loving Jesus and influencing others to Become Like Jesus, but are still exploring what it means to Share Jesus. Our new Spiritual Growth Guide helps you determine your level of development in each area and recommends a helpful step to grow, providing a more personalized development plan than ever before.
Where Are You?
When was the last time you gave serious consideration to your next spiritual step? We believe this new Spiritual Growth Guide can be a significant asset to your growth. Check it out!
Want some direction? Westside provides personal support with this guide every month at our Get Connected event. Register to find your spot!