Council recently approved three areas of focus for the 2017 – 2018 time frame; one of these is Spiritual Growth. But what does that mean to you? It is really a self-defined term; it is by definition very personal. It means something different for everyone since the Holy Spirit empowers us each in different ways for the building up of the body of Christ – the church. However, it is certainly not religiosity. Just the opposite! To me it is an internal drive, given by the Holy Spirit, to learn more; but primarily to experience more. At the beginning one is usually not even sure what the search is for. But there is a heart driven desire to reach out for something or to sit back and let the spirit sweep over and engulf one. It usually means a change in one’s jungle path, i.e., go to a different style of worship service, attend new or different Bible studies or participate in prayer meetings. All of which can be intimidating to a newcomer. Not by design, but arising from an internal fear of the unknown. Those who feel that they are further in their journey must be patient and provide a sense of encouragement to the “searcher.” The Holy Spirit is in charge and will bring the person along the path in God’s good time.
I would hope that the church can encourage all to pray for their empowerment by the Hole Spirit – to start the journey into deeper spirituality. To me, we need “mystical” experiences. They are always occurring around us; we just need the eyes of Christ to see them – to let them speak to us and to encourage us. To wisp us along on our journey into a closer relationship with God. Recently while sitting in a waiting room, I was listening to new age music. There was a mystical element to it. I had the same experience also when listening to “epic” style music on YOUTUBE. A very challenging feeling – one of mystery and emotion, raw, secret with multiple meanings. Perhaps dangerous to the uninitiated; it is no wonder that most folks fear entering the “spiritual” world. This is not a place for Sunday school stories and games; it is a place of vulnerability. I feel as if I have experienced but a tiny bit of the banquet; but I hunger for more. Why is it that the teachers/leaders so often have head knowledge, but no experiences to guide them? We need to break through the stoicism that our culture has bestowed upon us. We need to let go emotionally and allow the Holy Spirit to use us and to guide us. I suspect that far too many folks talk about “it”; but never actually progress through the barrier. It stays as an abstraction, not a reality. Years ago I was led by the Holy Spirit and didn’t really know what I was getting into. But what a blessing! I want more; I pray for a mentor. I want to experience more. I want to be flooded with “coincidences”! With so many that I could write and write. What would it look like to have a true resurgence of “Spiritual Growth?” What would our metrics look like? The metrics that we develop will tell the depth of our understanding of what it is we are searching for!