This series of lessons introduces you to the vision, mission, and strategy of Genesis Church. “Experiencing Progress” focuses on the C5 Strategy for spiritual growth.
God’s design for you is that you grow. He wants you to keep growing until you are a solid and mature believer. There are three key players in your spiritual growth and progress as a believer.
- The first key player is God. In 2 Peter 1:3 we read, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the One who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence. And because of His glory and excellence, He has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (NLT). God has given you a divine nature and divine promises that will help you to live out the abundant life He promised you. God is doing and will do His part in helping you grow. He will not force you to grow spiritually, but He will and has provided everything you need to become more and more like Christ.
- A second key player in your spiritual growth is you. God has a part to play in your spiritual growth, but so do you. Look at 2 Peter 1:5, “In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 5-8, NLT). You are to “make every effort” to respond to God’s Word regarding your spiritual growth. This is not dealing with salvation. You are not making every effort to get saved. This making every effort is regarding what you add to your faith. This is about spiritual development and living out your faith.
- A third key player in your spiritual growth is the church. God has provided the church body to help you grow. This ranges from other believers in a Life Group to pastors who teach God’s Word. Listen carefully to Ephesians 4:11, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ” (vs. 11-13, NLT; see also Col. 1:28).
God has a part in your spiritual growth. You have a part in your spiritual growth and the church has a part in your spiritual growth. What this means is, you are not alone. God is going to help you, others are going to help you, and you are going to help you.
What I want to introduce to you today is the C5 Strategy for spiritual growth. Part of “making every effort” in your spiritual growth includes these five things. If you do these five things I believe you will grow in moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, and brotherly affection toward others. You will discover that you are more productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The C5 Strategy. What are the five Cs for spiritual growth? To help us understand the five Cs we are going to take a look at the early church, the first Christians and how they grew spiritually.
Celebrate: Gather with others each week for praise and worship
The first C in our C5 Strategy is Celebrate: Gather with others each week for praise and worship. Take a look at Acts 2:44 which says, “All the believers met together in one place….” Then in verse 46, “They worshiped together at the Temple” (NLT). There is something about getting together with a larger group of believers to worship and praise God together, to pray together, and listen to God’s Word taught together that is inspiring and helps you to remember you are not alone in your spiritual journey throughout the week.
Throughout the Bible you see believers getting together for celebration through prayer, praise, and preaching. For example in Acts 20:7 we are told, “On the first day of the week, we gathered with the local believers to share in the Lord’s Supper. Paul was preaching to them, and since he was leaving the next day, he kept talking until midnight” (NLT). Since I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon, I won’t keep you until midnight.
For Genesis Church our primary way of celebrating Christ together is through the Sunday morning worship experience. Our goal each Sunday is to provide songs, music, videos, sermons, testimonies, and other things that we believe will help you worship God, find encouragement, and answers about life’s questions from God’s Word.
Connect: Get together with others to discuss God’s Word
The second C in our C5 Strategy for Spiritual Growth is Connect: Get together with others to discuss God’s Word. Connect with other believers. Connect with them in one of our Life Groups. Acts 2:42, “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer” (NLT). Then in verse 46 we are told they “met in homes” (NLT). Throughout the Bible you find believers getting together to learn, discuss, challenge and encourage each other in their walk with God. You find them gathering in homes, rivers, and alongside roads. This is where they could ask questions, provide some answers, offer encouragement, and pray for one another.
Today we call these Life Groups at Genesis Church. On Sunday morning we worship together, but in Life Groups we get to know each other and grow together. Throughout the year we will provide a variety of Life Groups. One of them offers something you need not only in the form of God’s Word but in the form of God’s people. In Life Groups you will learn something new, but you will also get to know someone new or someone better and they will get to know you better.
If you ever feel like you are not connecting with the people at Genesis Church, then try a Life Group. That’s where many people get connected.
Contribute: Get involved in a ministry
The third C in our C5 Strategy is Contribute: Get involved in a ministry. Acts 2:45, “They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need” (NLT). In this particular case the first church decided to contribute to the lives of others regarding physical needs. Some had extra land or extra possessions and sold them for the purpose of sharing the money to help meet various needs. That is just one way to contribute to the needs of others.
Throughout the Bible we are told to serve one another and contribute to others in some way. For example in Galatians 5:13 we are told to “serve one another in love” (NLT). Then in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 we are told to “encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (NLT).
You are uniquely designed and shaped in a special way to serve others, to encourage them, and to build them up. At Genesis we believe when you discover your SHAPE, you discover your service.
We encourage people to discover their God-given SHAPE.
- Spiritual gifting: What am I gifted to do?
- Heart for ministry: What do I have a desire to do?
- Abilities to serve: What am I skilled to do?
- Personality for ministry: What am I suited for?
- Experiences you can share: What life experiences can I use to help others?
So far we have covered the first three Cs.
- Celebrating: Gather with others each week for praise and worship.
- Connecting: Get together with others to discuss God’s Word.
- Contributing: Get involved in a ministry.
With that said, listen to Hebrews 10:24-25 which says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of His return is drawing near” (NLT). You need people in your life that will motivate you and encourage you to acts of love and good works AND there are people who need you in their life to motivate and encourage them. We all get down and discouraged at times and we all need those people and environments that inspire us and build us up.
Communicate: Share Jesus and invite others to your church
The fourth C in our C5 Strategy is Communicate: Share Jesus and invite others to your church. This deals with outreach and evangelism. Acts 2:47, “And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved” (NLT). The reason why the Lord could add people to their fellowship so easily was because the early church were celebrating God’s goodness together, connecting with one another and growing in God’s Word in home groups, and contributing to the lives around them through ministry. Through all this they were telling people about Jesus and inviting people to their celebrations and to their home groups.
Sharing your faith is not only good for others to hear, but it helps you to grow spiritually as well. Listen carefully to Philemon 6 which says, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (NIV 84). There are some things as a follower of Jesus that you cannot and will not understand unless you are sharing your faith.
Cultivate: Spend time alone with God
The fifth C in our C5 Strategy is Cultivate: Spend time alone with God. This deals with your personal spiritual habits. Some believers have called this a Quiet Time, Devotional Time, while others have referred to this as part of their personal spiritual habits.
“Alone time” with God can allow God to examine us in order to reveal something about us that He wants to bring to our attention. It can be a time of knowing God more deeply, a time of strengthening, a time of refreshment, a time of sharing our deepest concerns with God, and a time of simply being with the One who formed us and loves us beyond our understanding.
Another benefit of spending time alone with God is that such times allow us to refocus ourselves on what is truly important. It is good, every now and then, to “come away”; we need time spent away from others, away from cell phones, away from television shows, away from the daily grind. We don’t want the “worries of this life” to choke out the Word (Mark 4:19). Rather, we want to spend time with Jesus and, like Mary of Bethany, sit at His feet hearing His word (Luke 10:39).
This habit of spending time alone with God is throughout the Bible. Let me show you this from the life of Jesus.
- In Luke 5:16 we are told “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (NLT). This was a habit of His. He often did this.
- In Luke 6:12, before Jesus chooses the twelve apostles, we are told, “One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and He prayed to God all night” (NLT). Before making major decision He would get alone with the Heavenly Father.
- In Luke 22, when Jesus was about to face the most stressful time of His life, the Bible tells us in verse 39, “Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There He told them, ‘Pray that you will not give in to temptation.’ He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed…” (vs. 39-41, NLT). Even though the disciples were nearby, Jesus walked a little ways away from them in order to pray alone.
- We also see Jesus getting up early on occasion to talk to the Father alone. Mark 1:35 says, “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray” (NLT).
Our time alone with God involves two things.
- It involves you talking to God. This is prayer.
- It also involves you listening to God. This involves you reading and studying God’s Word and letting His Spirit talk to you in your heart.
God wants you to grow spiritually. He will do His part. He has also provided the church to help you grow, but somewhere along your journey you must make a decision to help yourself grow spiritually. The C5 Strategy is your part in your spiritual growth.
If you are hear today and would like to know more about growing spiritually or becoming a follower of Jesus, but you have questions let me encourage you to take the Welcome Card in your seat, fill it out and let us know you want to talk to someone. We will get a hold of you as soon as we can. If you feel like you need to talk to someone today, we can make that happen as well.