Spiritual transformation and spiritual discipline are inseparably bound. Unsurprisingly, those disengaged in the disciplines of prayer, reading the Bible, Scripture memorization, fasting and acts of obedience to God are the very same who feel the deepest need for spiritual transformation. Many church members who express a desire to grow spiritually do so because they have failed to engage in the disciplines of the faith. Others have never been exposed to the joy of spiritual discipline, yet God has made access to the riches of His presence so easily accessible.
In this issue of Facts and Trends, you’ll read about a recent study by Lifeway Research that found a lack of engagement by Protestant churchgoers in the most basic spiritual disciplines. The results of the study are disheartening, especially for those of us who desire to see all Christians living a vibrant spiritual life. For many, the distractions of this world – the day-to-day busyness of life – take precedence over practicing spiritual disciplines.
Our role as leaders in the church is to guide believers in their journey to becoming more like Christ. Without a teacher to guide them into the mission of God, believers miss the lessons necessary to continue being transformed by the power of Christ.
Here are a few ways you can spur on your congregation to spiritual transformation:
1. Model the spiritual disciplines for your church. People need godly examples to follow. Tell them how God is transforming your life through these practices.
2. Talk about the spiritual disciplines in your preaching and in one-on-one conversations.
3. Focus on an encounter with God rather than religious activity. The spiritual disciplines are practices used to draw us closer to God.
Remember, your role as a church leader is not to transform people. Instead, you are to place people in the path of God’s transforming power. Disciples are made the way they’ve always been made: by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the church.
If you find your congregation’s spiritual transformation has waned, then it’s time to help them get back on track. Christ’s plan for His people is for them to become more and more like Him every day. When God’s people begin to act like Jesus, when God’s church lives like the body of Christ, the world will not only take notice but also experience a change itself.
By Thom Rainer, President & CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources