In the short time I've been hanging out with teens at Stillwater, I've learned how interesting it is to try to measure spiritual growth. Are the things we put all our time and effort in showing up as growth in children, teens and adults?
The more realistic revelation is understanding our place in the seed planting process. I'll get to see spiritual growth in some teens. I'm deeply thankful for those moments. But here's the kicker...I'm getting to see spiritual growth because several people invested in this teen long before I got to hang out with them.
For others, their contact with our church is the first time they'll hear that God is crazy in love with them. A pastor in 10 years might get to see major spiritual growth in that person.
I think this is one of the subtle awkward truths of ministry. We can't will growth to happen. But we sure work like we can. We should simply love people, give them resources & practices to connect with God, listen, tell the truth of the Gospel and care for them. Then we watch the Trinity go to town. I want to live my life in such a way that I constantly remember my place in the process.
All that to say I wanted to share something cool with you. :)
One of our 8th graders texted me last night saying she had a list of goals for her relationship with God. This wasn't something I challenged her to do. Made this list on her own...
Goals for My Relationship with God
- To spend more time with God in general
- To totally devote my life to God
- Sometimes I feel like I only have a relationship with God because He's my ticket out of Hell and into Heaven. I don't want to be like that at all. I want to be in a relationship with God because He can use me as a witness and can make my life sooo much better.
- I want to have a fair, unselfish relationship with God. I do NOT want God to be like my good luck charm that I only have contact with when I need something or have a problem. I want Him to be my BEST friend that I go to with everything. I want to crave conversations with God.
- I want to be totally focused on God and make decision based on what He thinks
- I want to start praying every night again before I go to bed
- I want to start reading the Bible daily. There's so much that I don't know about it
- I want my life to totally revolve around God instead of myself
Celebrate the life situations where you see God at work. The more we tell those stories, the more we're aware that God is present in more situations than we ever thought.