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Question – who is responsible for your spiritual growth?

One of the thing that breaks my heart in our self-serve culture is the observation that many North American Jesus-followers expect someone else to grow them spiritually.  The number one question I hear church goers ask is "what’s in it for me?"  Should that be the #1 question?  Don’t we have a responsibility as Christians to become self-feeders, people who realize that we have a personal role in growing our relationship with Jesus?  Is our mission not other-centered rather than self-centered?

Is it actually true that, primarily, my spiritual growth is not your responsibility?  To use an analogy, isn’t that like saying that my spiritual growth your responsibility like saying it’s the gym’s responsibility to help me lose weight and get in shape? I can join a gym, hire a trainer, but if I don’t actually show up, or if I choose not to exercise or go at it with half a heart, or work out like crazy and then go for burgers, fries and milkshakes, whose fault is it if I gain 20 lbs?  Is our job as a Christian community to provide the conditions for spiritual growth, but trust people to take the initiative to feed themselves spiritual, both individually and in community? 

What I love about church is that we have people to encourage us, environments (like Sundays and community groups) to provide the stimulus to growth.  All of that is fantastic.  But I get this sinking feeling that many Jesus-followers in this generation haven’t taken personal responsibility for the state of their relationship with God.

So tell me, am I crazy?  Am I wrong on this?  What do you do in your life that helps you grow in relationship with Jesus?  What barriers do you face in the way to growing your faith personally every day? 


  1. Jen on July 8, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Well, all I can say is at least you have eachother! It seems to me you're (for the most part) surrounded by fellow Christians and you don't know what that's worth. Well, to me anyways. Being new to my faith, I look so forward to Sundays because it's a gathering in which I am, once a week, 'surrounded' by others like me. I don't have friends I can talk openly with about God and the week leaves me fending for myself when I NEED guidance. I'm just too young (as a Christian, not actual age lol) to grow on my own. Maybe it's different for you guys who don't need as much help as I do? Wow, that's a loaded statement in itself… :o)

  2. Carey Nieuwhof on July 3, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Louanne…I am still trying to get over the fact that life isn't about me, let alone just Sundays. Isn't that the human condition? :0)

    For me, you and Dave embody that in so many inspiring ways, and I trust you wrote this from Guatemala. Hope it is going well there. Say hi to our friends in Guatemala.

  3. Louanne on July 2, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    right on,Carey,
    it has taken me about 10 years to realize Sunday mornings aren't about me. Maybe they should be about my 3 neighbours who don't go to church nor know Christ. or my own brothers and one sister who don't know Christ.
    It is really my own responsibility to 'get into shape',as you put it so well.

  4. Ron Edmondson on July 1, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I think you are exactly dead on! Everything in our world has been simplified and/or sped up to the point that serious, dedicated discipleship is rare.

    I love Google Reader, but if I'm not careful it will become my substitute for serious study.
    Thanks. Good post

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