Perhaps you’ve asked yourself sometime recently, “How can I grow deeper in my life in Christ?” Richard Foster, in his award winning book, Celebration of Discipline, opens that book with this assessment: “Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” (Celebration of Discipline, 1) That was written in 1978 and is just as relevant today, over four decades later, as it was in the late 70s.
But how can we grow deeper in our life with God? What are the paths through the forest of Christian spiritual living that lead to deeper life with Christ?
By God’s grace, the congregation I serve, Cannon Beach Community Church is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church. I am an ordained Minister within the Evangelical Covenant Church, an international Body of Believers who believe in helping people grow deeper in Christ. The Covenant Church provides beautiful guidelines and tools for this spiritual undertaking. For the Covenant Church denomination, growing in Christ is not optional, but essential for all who belong to Jesus. G.R.O.W. spells out a four-fold plan for discipleship:
God’s Word: we are illuminated by God’s Spirit to meet God, to know Christ, understand God’s Word, and live out the truths of the Bible.
Relationship: we are united by God’s Spirit to grow in Christ together with other friends of Christ, across generations, and among people of various ethnicities and backgrounds.
Outward Action: we are directed by God’s Spirit to go with Christ into our community and world, to extend the compassion and mercy of Christ to others, to share God’s story, and to do justly.
Worship: we are ignited by God’s Spirit to intimately know Christ, to enter into an intimate, abundant, joy-filled life in Christ both as an individual and as a worshipping Body of Christ.
Here’s a quote from the Covenant Church’s website on this G.R.O.W. plan for discipleship, for growing deeper in Christ: “Ready to go deeper? Spiritual practices have long been a way for us to be first “in God” so we might go further in mission. While all include a reflective dimension, all are also active. They are meant to help us be attentive to God’s loving and abiding presence and to find within this space a further sense of God’s will and direction.” (See these links to find out more about the Covenant Church’s emphasis upon GROWing deeper in Christ: https://covchurch.org/discipleship/resources/; https://covchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/12/Invitation-to-Grow-brochure-adult-for-web.pdf; https://covchurch.org/resources/growing-deeper-practices/.
The Covenant Church offers 14 creative, spiritual patterns for GROWing deeper in Christ. I will explore these 14 patterns over the next 3-4 months, weekly stepping into one of these to offer practical and biblical guidance on how to GROW deeper in Christ through that spiritual discipline or practice. Here are the 14 ways to GROW in Christ:
- Walking with God.
- Reading the Bible.
- Praying Scripture.
- Praying through Art.
- Praying in Community for the World.
- Keeping a spiritual journal.
- Reviewing your day.
- Walking with others.
- Telling your story.
- Embodying our faith.
- Becoming generous.
- Caring for Creation.
- Choosing justice.
- Developing a Rule of Life.