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The God Factor in Spiritual Growth


The God Factor in Spiritual Growth Preparing the ground for dynamic spiritual growth in the life of new believers in the slum context. Movements must create ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The God Factor in Spiritual Growth

The God Factor in Spiritual Growth
  • Preparing the ground for dynamic spiritual growth
    in the life of new believers in the slum context.

Movements must create dynamic spiritual growth
  • The danger of modern Christian movements is that
    through organisation and planning they grow
    faster than the spiritual development of their
    constituents and the movement either implodes or
  • Gods work must be done in Gods way with Gods

Structure can become more important than a
relational community !
  • This the second danger that can limit spiritual
    growth and the fruit of what God does in the slum
  • The Holy Spirit exercises His compassion for the
    poor through our availability to respond.
    Mobility and availability are key to our
    authority in Christ to minister with authority
    among the poor.
  • Servant Leadership seeks to be authoritative (the
    spiritual dimension) and incarnational (the
    social dimension)

Mother Theresa focussed on loving people.
  • The Missionary Sisters of Charity went through a
    period of creating a structure and fundraising
  • After a number of years Mother Teresa dismantled
    this structure because Jesus told her that
    structure had taken the focus off loving the
  • An incarnational ministry among the poor must
    have that level of integrity. It will always put
    loving the poor before creating or serving
    structures and organisations.

Organisations create beauraucratic structures
  • Most organisations create a culture where the
    servants of the organisation give allegiance to
    the organisation first rather than serving the
    needy first.
  • Their loyalty is to the organisation that pays
  • This makes NGOs and compassionate Christian
    ministries like the Government organisations in
    the eyes of the poor.
  • They see the organisation serving the employees
    rather than them. The rejected poor want to find
    someone who will love them unconditionally.
  • Mother Teresa had to start a separate order
    (Missionary Sisters of Charity) to achieve this
    quality of love for the poor, dying and destitute.

Ministry structures can stifle lives.
  • The freedom to offer unconditional love is a
    dynamic that creates spiritual growth.
  • An incarnational ministry among the poor makes
    the worker available to love the poor and relate
    to them when they need help.
  • People who know they are loved grow in grace and
    love themselves. They form cooperative
    partnership relationships with the person who
    loves them. This is the way they show their
    appreciation for the love they receive.

Jesus exemplified this love for the poor and
  • He changed his itinerary to minister to the poor.
    He was people oriented.
  • His ministry team was mobile and responsive to
    the needs of the poor.
  • He did not place the needs of his disciples ahead
    of His unconditional love for the poor.
  • He knew that He was the only person through whom
    the poor were going to experience justice and
    unconditional love.

The Apostle Paul understood the concept of
partnership with the Spirit
  • 1Corinthians 3 verse 6 7, 9
  • I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing
    the growth. So then neither the one who plants or
    the one who waters is anything, but God causes
    the growth.
  • For we are Gods fellow workers (partners), you
    are Gods field, Gods building.

The pendulum swing of Christian history.
  • In Christian history the Church has swung through
    two extremes
  • Formalism with little evidence of the Spirit
  • The Spirit will do everything.
  • The Church is most effective when it finds a
    balance between these two extremes. This is the
    partnership we have with God that Paul is talking
    about in 1 Corinthians 3 verse 9 We are Gods
    fellow workersGod causes the growth
  • The farmer has to till the ground and plant the
    seed and gather the harvest but God sends the
    rains and the sun in its proper time.

It is Gods workwe have the privilege of
partnering with Him in His work.
  • God intended this partnership with mankind in
    bring the power of the Kingdom of God on earth.
  • Jesus commanded us to make disciples Matt 28
    verse 18-20
  • The Father took Jesus out of the world and sent
    His Spirit as the executor of His will. The
    Spirits presence is manifest in the lives of the
    children of God by His indwelling presence. John
    20 v 22 Acts 2 v 4 Romans 8 vs 9 18 Eph 5 v
  • God has committed Himself to partner with mankind

We partner with God in all aspects of His work.
His suffering. and His glory.
  • Romans 8 verses 17- 18
  • We are fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we
    suffer with Him in order that we may also be
    glorified with Him.
  • He incarnated Himself, we are to incarnate
  • He advocates for us before the Father, we are to
    advocate for the poor before the throne of Grace.
  • We are to enter into His joy Read Matthew 25 v
    20 - 23

What is this joy Jesus was talking about in this
  • Jesus was talking about the fact that he has
    given us talents and abilities. When yielded to
    the Spirit of God these talents and abilities are
    to be used in partnership with the Spirit for the
    growth of His kingdom in the lives of His people.
  • This gives the Master joy and gives us great joy
    as well. To see someone grow up to maturity
    brings great joy.

The joy of living in a loving, caring community
  • Marva Dawn has written a book called Truly
    Community an exposition of Romans 12 v 8
  • The Greek word for cheerfulness is hilarotes.
    It implies a deep joy from being in the loving,
    caring community of the Body of Christ
  • Paul says we are to show mercy with
    cheerfulness Romans 12 v 8
  • Everything you do in slum ministry should be done
    in mercy with cheerfulness a deep joy coming
    from the fact that you are doing what you do in
    the development of a loving, caring community
    contextthe Body of Christ. This was Jesus
    objective with His 12 disciples.
  • This is why it is important for the slum activity
    to be a communal activity. The joy comes not only
    from the Holy Spirits presence but from the joy
    of being with each other in community, our
    spiritual extended family.

The joy of the manifest presence of the Spirit
  • God delights in his children who obey His
    commandments. Matt 25 v 21
  • There is great joy in obedience. Luke 15 v 7
  • We encourage each other in a team ministry, as
    one day one person is up and another down. The
    encouraged one strengthens the discouraged one.
  • The Holy Spirit promises His anointing on our
    living together in community
  • Psalm 133 How good and pleasant it is when
    brethren dwell together in unity.God commands
    His blessing on such people

How does spiritual growth occur? How can we help
new believers grow to maturity?
  • There are five key elements where we can partner
    with the Holy Spirit in developing spiritual
  • Teaching the new believer how to pray
  • Applying the teaching of Scripture to their lives
    revealing the will of God to them, by answering
    their questions in a Biblical way and from our
    experience of what God has done in our lives
  • Helping them develop positive relationships with
    their family, community and the Church through
    friendship and reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5 v
  • Service of others in the Church and the
    community. Eph 4 verse 12
  • Teaching them to experience the presence of God
    through worship, meditation and prayer. Acts 2 v

In this process of growth believers pass through
stages of development
  • The Apostle John and Paul described it within the
    concept of human development
  • Stage 1 Babies 1 Corinthians 3 verse 1
  • Stage 2 Children 1 John 1 verses 12
  • Stage 3 Young persons 1 John 1 v 13
  • Stage 4 Fathers 1 John 1 v 13-14

These stages of human development are likened to
  • 1. Babes Those in need of intense care
  • - Feeding every four hours
  • Cleaning every time they soil themselves
  • Sleeping all the time no work just
  • demands, and needs and intense care
  • Why do we do it We love the baby because it is a
    reflection of ourselves. This intense care will
    only last for a season then the joy of childhood
    will come.
  • Note Some babes are even born with difficulties,
    handicaps etc. The spiritual babes of the slums
    are like this too handicaps such as drug and
    alcohol addiction, sexual abuse, gambling,
    criminal records, compulsive stealing, violent
    tempers, demonic possession are so commonly
    present in the babes born in the slums. But we
    love them all the same.

  • 2. Children Those learning to talk, walk, eat
    and clean themselves
  • Children know their sins are forgiven, they
    experience the joy of Gods unconditional
    forgiveness in Christ
  • They know and recognise the Fathers voice, His
    will and His love.
  • 3. Young persons Those who learning competency
    in running, playing the game of life, being
    fruitful and productive, choice in decision
    making between good and bad, and obedience to
    God, parents and teachers, and building positive
    relationships with God, family and the community.
    Dependency broken.
  • They have become strong, abide in Gods word, are
    fruitful, and know how to overcome the evil one.

  • 4. Fathers They know God intimately
  • This came about through years of experience,
    testing, hardship and trials and as the Apostle
    Paul says this produces great faith and great
    hope. Romans 5 verses 1-5.
  • They have learned the lessons of nurturing
    children to adulthood
  • They have been faithful in marriage, and faithful
    in their relationship with God. This process of
    faithfulness and constantly applying the
    principles of reconciliation has produced
    humility and an authority born out of
  • They have moved from delight in power, to delight
    in the intimacy of loving faithfulness.

Another way at looking a spiritual growth is
through the seasons of nature
  1. Spring new birth, rapid new growth from
  2. Summer moving on to maturity, harvest, strength
    in the heat, energy, long hours of sunlight.
  3. Autumn beautiful colours, a process of dying,
    pruning, the leaves drop off the maximise the
    light of the sun in winter. We distribute seed
    from our fruit
  4. Winter little reliance on ones own strength,
    an appearance of death, internal life, pruning,
    buds form, the promise of new growth. Our seed is
    planted and getting ready to emerge in the next

Four seasons of growth in our lives and ministry
  • Security We become members of a new happy
    family. We experience new ways of having fun and
  • Commitment Through committed relationships we
    become disciples or disciplined leaders in groups
    with authority to minister reconciliation,
    healing and deliverance. We bear fruit and start
    a second generation.
  • Quality Through experience, testing, and
    trials, we become mature quality leaders,
    delegating ministries to others while mentoring
    and supervising a number of groups. A third
    generation is birthed. ( we now have
  • Calling Apostolic and prophetic roles enable us
    to serve others in pioneering and establishing
    their ministries. Multiple families of great
    grandchildren are birthed.See pages 168-180 Cry
    of the Urban Poor

These four stages give focus to the ministry
groups we need for nurturing growth..
  • The first new babes group gives security and
    confirms assurance of salvation
  • The second group affirms commitment to Christ and
    His body through baptism and discipleship
  • The third group dynamic develops the quality of
    the disciples ministry fruitfulness
  • The fourth group mentors the leader through
    seasons in ministry, and into apostolic callings.

Collating these ideas together in a matrix.
  • Human Seasons in Seasons in
  • development nature
  • Babes Spring
  • Children Summer
  • Youth Autumn
  • Fathers Winter

  • Marva Dawn Truly the Community Eerdmans, Grand
    Rapids, USA
  • Gene Getz Sharpening the Focus of the Church
  • Viv Grigg Cry of the Urban Poor MARC, USA
  • Dr Ralph Neighbour, Where do we go from here?
  • Rev. Dr Joshua Sutjiono Pastor, Jakarta,