I want to introduce you to a young women’s leader from The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham. Ashley Chesnut will guest blog a series of 6 posts on the Spiritual Stages in Disciple-Making. I know you will be blessed as I am by her insights.
“How do I help the girls in my small group take the next step to grow in their faith?” This has been a central question for me as I have walked alongside the precious college girls God placed in my life to disciple.
I read Real Life Discipleship this past year, and God used it to augment my understanding of how to identify where my girls are at in their relationship with God and how I can help them move forward. As I met one-on-one with my girls, I began to take notes on things they shared, which I would use to inform my prayers for them as well as to shape my time with them.
While I am not some paragon of disciple-making, in this Spiritual States in Disciple-Making I will be sharing what I have learned about five stages of spiritual growth and how to help others (and ourselves) go deeper in relationship with God.
Much of the content regarding spiritual stages has been gleaned from Real Life Discipleship by Jim Putnam, so if you want to know more, I commend this resource to you.
Warnings About Classifying People
- We cannot know what stage someone is at or help them transition to another stage if we are not spending time with them one-on-one. To walk alongside someone, to shepherd them well, and to aid them in their spiritual growth necessitates more than simply seeing them 1-2 hours a week during small group meetings.
- Identifying someone’s spiritual stage is meant to be a tool to identify where they are so we can help them. Therefore, we need to be careful not to let stages define people. Most of us do not like for people to try to pin us down and say that we are a certain way (even if what they are saying is true). These descriptors are simply handles us for us to grab on to as we disciple people.
- People do not always fit into our neat little boxes, and they can demonstrate characteristics of several stages.
- We must allow for people to change and not always view them as they once were.
- People can regress.
So as we focus on this series on the topic of Spiritual Stages, I challenge you to ask yourself: (1) Which spiritual stage are you? (2) Who are you discipling? (3) What spiritual stage are they? (4) How can you help them transition to the next stage? (5) In what areas do you need to grow in order to be able to walk alongside someone in this process?
The next post takes a look at the spiritually dead.
Ashley Chesnut lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and works on the Local Disciple-Making Team at The The Church at Brook Hills. Having grown up in college ministry, Ashley has a passion for discipling college girls and for writing and teaching others about God’s Word. Check out more about discipleship and women’s ministry at the Brook Hills Women’s Blog.
Growing True Disciples – Barna
Growing Disciples Series: http://www.lifeway.com/n/Product-Family/Growing-Disciples-Series