Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Life & Spiritual Growth

I'm currently writing this blog post from my home (soon to be OUR home).  We got internet/phone/cable service installed recently since cell service is virtually nonexistent out here.  It took a couple of days for me to adjust to living here by myself, but I'm really starting to like it now.  :)

We officially get married in 25 days.  We're down to less than 30 days, people!  This is crazy!  Matthew and I were discussing how we think people are disappointed with our responses when they ask if we're excited.  I mean, of course, we're excited, but we're more just ready to do this!  We're ready to begin our life together - officially.  So don't be disappointed with us if you should ask if we're excited - we get asked all the time!

Plans have gone very smoothly.  There are very few things that we have left to do.  I feel like it's been too easy up to this point (overall).  I'm sure something will go wrong eventually, but I'm super happy that it's been pretty stress free for now.

I can't wait to visit home (TX) at the beginning of June to see my lil' Bubba Bear graduate from high school.  I'm so proud of that goober.  And I'm stoked about some family time down there before the big day.

. . .

At work, the pastoral staff has been reading a new(er) book called "Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal About Spiritual Growth" by Greg L. Hawkins & Cally Parkinson.  It's basically a book based on the findings from 1,000 churches who responded to a spiritual growth survey conducted by Bill Hybels' church, Willow Creek.  I'm not going to try to explain it all because you can just read the book yourself, but I bring it up because there are some things from it that have really got me thinking.

The first part (which is what I just finished) walks the reader through the characteristics of four stages of spiritual growth, starting with exploring Christ and moving through to the stage of being Christ-centered.  As I read, I can't help but wonder which group I fall into at any given moment.  I feel like I can move through all four stages in a day and, on the flip side, get stuck in a particular stage for a long time.  I consider this book very challenging in my own spiritual journey because I want to be in that last group, the Christ-centered Christ-followers.  I don't think many people make it to that group, but that's where I aspire to be.

The book also makes me wonder the state of the worshipers in my church.  Not in a judgmental, condemning way.  Just in an assessing-the-health-of-our-church kind of a way.  And, related to that, I am questioning what we can do to improve the spiritual growth of our church based on the findings in the book (which I think is discussed further in the next parts), especially since the central key they've found is that a person's amount of church activity is not equal to their spiritual maturity, contrary to what most of us have believed for the last 100 years (or more).  In other words, more church does not equal better Christ-follower.  Interesting.

Anyway, I hope to have more thoughts on this to post later (as I read more of the book).  Another resource I'm loving right now is the latest edition of Worship Leader magazine.  This particular edition's topic is specifically related to worship as a pastor, which is exactly my role.  If you're a worship pastor, you should grab this month's issue (May 2012).  I haven't even made it through the whole magazine yet because I'm still mulling over and processing some of the articles I've read so far.  It's full of great stuff, like this article by Darlene Zschech: "10 Essential Traits of a Worship Pastor".  Read it - you won't regret it.

To read our senior pastor's blog post on "Move" (Part 1), click here.

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