Developing a Personal Growth Plan
The goal of the Christian life is to be with and grow more and more like Jesus. As you grow more like Him, you experience His peace and others experience His grace through you.
One goal at our church is to help each person develop their own growth plan. Growth doesn’t happen by accident. Every relationship grows with intentionality. It takes a plan to grow like Jesus. A plan that directs your heart, mind, body and strength to depend on Jesus and become an apprentice (disciple) of him. This requires an investment of your time to be with Jesus. To do this, we slow down your life to live at the pace and in the presence of Jesus. Ancient Christians called this “the practice of the presence of God.” Jesus himself called it “abiding.” This growth plan should challenge you to discover a life of deep, intimate communion with God.
One goal at the Church of the Nazarene here in Oakland is to have each person grow with a small group of believers that are seeking together to be discipled by Jesus. Growth does not happen in isolation. Each believer is a part of the body of Jesus Christ. It takes a community to grow like Jesus. A community that relies on the heart, mind, body and strength of Jesus.
The Growth Plan Framework
For this Growth Plan we recommend this four-part framework: Rest, Work, Prayer and Relationships. These are from the Emotionally Healthy Discipleship (www.emotionallyhealthy.org) four part “Rule of Life” grid. The following explanations are adapted from Practicing the Way’s Rule of Life.
Rest is essential to our spiritual growth. A well-rested person easily resists temptation and easily loves. As believers, we don’t “live for the weekend” but rest in God to be strengthened for a holy and loving life of work, prayer and relationships.
When God created humans, he set them in a Garden to “work it and take care of it” (Genesis 2). What we do with our resources– time, money, gifting and capacity–matters to God (and to others). At its best, work is an expression of love and justice. At its worst, of ambition and greed. Our work often generates money; how we steward those resources is key to our apprenticeship to Jesus. A life of simplicity and generosity is a core tenant in Jesus’ vision of life in the kingdom. Service is also work. Modeling a life of service after Jesus naturally helps us to grow to be like Jesus.
Through spiritual disciplines from Jesus’ life and teaching, we make space in our life for God to transform us into people who share God’s character. These prayer practices train us to “remain in” Christ (John 14) at all times. Prayer is the essential start to growth in Jesus.
God created humanity for relationship with Him and with each other. How we relate to others reflects our relationship with God. Relationships are essential for cultivating growth in Christ because they are where vulnerability and accountability take place. Consider these four categories of relationship: friendship, church, marriage and family.
Share Your Plan
Plan to meet with someone who you believe can partner with you in your spiritual walk. Make a plan to share your plan with them. Ask for feedback from this person and others. Then, ask someone to hold you accountable to your plan. Periodically, whether it be every three, six, nine or twelve months, evaluate your plan to determine strengths and weaknesses of the plan that is geared to help you grow in Christ-likeness.
Grow to Become Like Jesus
Committing to grow, you are formed in your inner being to become a person of love in God. The end goal is to take on the inner life of Jesus himself so that the teachings of Jesus become second nature.
Do what Jesus did
Do what he would do if he were you. Play your part. Fulfill your call. Make your contribution to the church and the world.