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Older Doesn’t Mean More Mature (in Christ)

Apr 18, 18
JMorgan
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The “maturity” of a Christian has little to do with how long ago that person accepted Christ.  Likewise, the “maturity” of a church has little to do with how long it has been in existence.  In fact, there is often an inverse relationship between the amount of time that has passed since:

  • one’s rebirth and the depth of a person’s walk with the Lord
  • the planting a church and its overall spiritual “health”

“Younger” churches are often more mature…

Consider the following signs of “maturity” and typical changes that occur over the life of a church:

Discipleship

  • New – Fewer staff and members gives leaders more time to invest in each one
  • Old – Growth leads to less personalized, intensive and effective discipleship methods (e.g. small groups)

Evangelism

  • New – Not having much to lose in terms of members and financial obligations creates greater boldness in challenging people to live out (obey) the Great Commission and Great Commandment
  • Old – Expectations shift from members sharing their faith and making disciples to inviting people to church to let the “professionals” assume that responsibility

Service

  • New – Running compassion projects in the community when the church first plants is common as a means to accomplish the pastor’s vision of impacting the community and to connect to new people
  • Old – Gradual transition to serving internally in order to manage the increasing number of church “chores” that come with growth

Intentionality

  • New – Targeting unreached groups and neighborhoods year-round, engaging them where they are to demonstrate the love of Christ and change the world
  • Old – Marketing the church to local zip codes to bring people in for a weekend service or advertise occasional outreach events taking place on campus

“Younger” Christians are often more mature…

Now look at the same signs of an individual believer’s “maturity” and typical changes that occur over the life of a Christian:

Discipleship

  • New – Little head knowledge of scripture but eager to learn, seeking a personal mentor and willing to adapt as new biblical concepts and commands come to light
  • Old – Heard all of the Bible stories before, often less voracious to consume God’s word and more unlikely to make life changes based on new learnings

Evangelism

  • New – Initially on fire to share their faith, unindoctrinated by churchdom, deeply in touch with God’s grace and thankful for their recent salvation
  • Old – More time around “good” people in church and less sin in their lives diminishes consciousness of the depths of their depravity and the peril from which Christ saved them, decreasing their sense of urgency to rescue others from a similar fate

Service

  • New – Millennials are highly service-oriented, justice-minded and evangelistic, looking for opportunities outside of their church to follow Jesus’ model of leading with compassion and then sharing who He is
  • Old – Challenges of raising families and working toward retirement provides less time in busy schedules for serving others, leading many to invest nearly every spare minute in taking care of their own rather than in those in greatest need of help and hope

Intentionality

  • New – New believers still have many unsaved friends from their “prior life” and want to see them come to know the Lord
  • Old – Most long-time believers surround themselves with those who are already saved and few feel comfortable talking about God with non-believers (because they have not been discipled adequately to defend their faith)

It’s your turn…

Do you agree that the definition of “maturity” is similar for a Christian and for a church?  If so, have you seen the evolution from Kingdom to churchdom in the lives of your friends or church?

1 Comment

How Did People Recognize Jesus is the Son of God? | Meet The Need Blog  May 2, 2018 at 10:58 am

[…] are more apt to recognize something different and alluring about a mature church (which has little to do with how long it’s been in existence) – those with strong discipleship […]

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