Spiritual Growth

Personal spiritual growth is a necessary prerequisite for ministry. Unless you are growing spiritually, how can you expect to help others grow? When you are not connected with God, your witness suffers terribly. I, for one, really cannot stand myself when I have missed spending time with God for a few days. At those times, I wonder what those around me are thinking of my actions, which certainly have not risen out of my faith so much as from my own selfishness.

Two activities are essential for your personal spiritual growth:

Every Christian needs to attend church regularly and spend time with God each day. These activities are especially crucial for those who desire to serve God as missionaries. Your daily time with God should include a time of reading the Bible and praying. You may want to pick up a copy of Operation World to help you pray for world missions. Another helpful activity could include keeping a prayer journal where you write down the things God seems to be teaching you and the things you are praying for.

In addition to the basic activities above, you may find it helpful to be involved in one or more of the following:

In a small group Bible study, you grow from your own interaction with God's Word and from the insights of others in the group. In a one-to-one discipleship, an older or more mature Christian (i.e. Youth group leader, pastor, elder, or professor) shares personal insights and faith with you. Such a person can guide you specifically in growth toward becoming a missionary.

There are many types of prayer groups. One might focus on prayer for personal needs; another might pray for needs of the church. Some are focused toward praying for a community or a specific area of the world. Others pray for missionaries and the cause of missions. Some groups combine all of these. If you decide to be a part of a prayer group, choose from your options prayerfully.

A prayer partnership can be formed between any two people. Find a friend who is interested in becoming a missionary or who is especially concerned to pray for you as you seek God's will in becoming one. Meet regularly to pray for one another and for the issues God puts on your hearts. I had a prayer partner for a year in seminary, and we prayed for each other, our families, and our futures. This partnership brought the two of us closer together and encouraged us in our spiritual growth.

Prayerfully consider the different options available to you as you seek to grow in your faith. Talk to other Christians and ask them for their advice. Your pastor or other church leader would be glad to help give you direction in these matters. Regardless of what you decide to do, be sure to spend time with God each day.