DISCIPLE: Resources for Spiritual Growth
By: Majors Chris and Lynda Thornhill
Photos by: Laura Dake and Joseph Chang
In a recent study conducted by Grey Matter Research and Consulting, it was determined that nearly 47% of Christians are stuck in the “newborn” phase of their spiritual walk. The study further shares that in most churches only 6% of Christians ever reach spiritual maturity. This type of spiritual growth, from the initial act of being saved through the development process to spiritual maturity, is what is meant by being discipled. Our founder, William Booth, recognized this when he said, “…more attention should be given to the development of the work of the Divine Spirit in our soldiers. Many of our people, I fear, have not progressed very far beyond the ABC of spiritual experience” (adapted from “William Booth, Talks with Officers—The General, 1921”).
What is happening in your corps, in your community, that is transforming lives? How are you being stretched to grow in your faith and walk outside of your comfort zone? The Mission, Evangelism and Cultural Ministries Department of the Southern Territorial Headquarters would like to share a few resources with you that will ensure you are confidently able to answer these questions.
One of the most important elements of spiritual growth is accountability. No one accepts Christ as their Savior one day and wakes up the next fully spiritually mature. This process takes effort and discipline. In the same way, a musician starting on their first day by picking up an instrument will not be a professional on their first try. The musician must find an instructor, someone they meet with regularly, who teaches, encourages, and comes alongside to assist the musician in the art of making music. An accountability partner in our spiritual walk will do the same. It is imperative to have someone in your life that is going to read the Bible with you, someone who allows you to share your struggles, who rejoices in your victories, and, most importantly, someone who will love you through the times where the hard things must be said. Only God has the ability to transform you, but the gift of living in community with someone in this way will challenge, encourage, and most importantly strengthen your faith. If you don’t have that person or people in your life, we encourage you to pray that God will lead you to this relationship.
RightNow Media is an online resource crafted to multiply disciples, create thriving communities, and transform lives. On this website you’ll find an unlimited number of Bible studies and devotionals for men, women, families, children, teens, and young adults, with resources also available in Spanish. This resource is available to your corps at no cost. Corps leaders can visit RightNow Media here to register your corps and begin using this resource today.
As the Mission, Evangelism and Cultural Ministries Department continues to grow, more resources will be available for discipleship along with elements to help in evangelism and making a difference in the communities we serve. The key is knowing that you don’t have to do it all by yourself. There are teams of people working to empower you in this most important work. The goal in moving our discipleship efforts with our people is encouraged by our founder, General William Booth, when he says, “Faith and works should travel side by side, step answering to step, like the legs of men walking. First faith, and then works; and then faith again, and then works again—until they can scarcely distinguish which is the one and which is the other.” May that be all of us!