Transferring Ownership for Spiritual Growth

Baby Boomers (yes, I am one of them) will have the honor and the accompanying responsibilities of becoming the recipients of the greatest transfer of wealth in our nation’s history. As their parents die, wealth will be handed down for Boomers to manage. Boomers will find themselves responsible to manage this great transfer of wealth.

Is it possible that COVID-19 will create another great transfer? Or has that new great transfer already begun? This new transfer of wealth won’t have money at the center of it, but it will instead be focused on transferring ownership for spiritual growth to individuals.

As churches and Bible study groups have been unable to meet (except for mostly online), a hefty percentage of groups have not met since the COVID-19 physical distancing guidelines were set in place back in March 2020. That’s a long time for some groups not to have met! In fact, it’s tragic. Some groups found new ways to meet (driveways, backyards, church gyms, larger rooms at their church, and more). But the number of groups that have regathered pales in comparison to those who are still sitting around doing nothing. I resonate with group leaders who have genuine concerns, as do their group members, about being together again physically – it’s good to be safe and prudent! But at the same time, we should not let COVID-19 paralyze us into a catatonic spiritual state.

Now to my point.

Unwilling to accept an ongoing status in which groups have not met, individuals are taking ownership for their spiritual growth. There is a transfer of responsibility for spiritual growth back to the individual! If this is one of the blessings of COVID-19, then I welcome that.

Dr. Brad Waggoner’s research for his book The Shape of Faith to Come demonstrated that the number one action a person can take to grow spiritually is to read the Bible for themselves – daily. See page 68 of his book for the research findings.

Running Stream or Stagnant Pool?

Dr. Howard Hendricks was one of my favorite teachers in the early days of my ministry. I never sat directly under him, but instead got to know him and his amazing life story and teaching ministry through video training he recorded decades ago. His “7 Laws of the Teacher” series are still some of my favorite training modules.

Dr. Hendricks told the story of a professor in video number one of the 7 Laws of the Teacher video series. He reported that each morning a student would walk past the home of his professor very early in the morning – like 5AM early. The student would observe his professor through an open window as he walked past the teacher’s house. The professor was hunched over his desk, studying the Word of God and praying. In class one day the student approached his professor and asked him, “Why do I see you up so early every morning studying and praying?” The professor responded to this young student with the words, “I would rather my students drink from a running stream than from a stagnant pool.” Those words were tremendously impactful! And they remind me why it is so important for individuals to take ownership for their spiritual growth. Too many of us have left that responsibility with the church and/or our pastor or our Bible study leader. It doesn’t have to be this way! While we value and appreciate the investments that pastors and teachers make in us as they teach the Bible, we should not let that ever become a substitute for taking ownership of our spiritual growth! The Holy Spirit of God lives in each believer, and His role is to lead and guide us into truth. I can experience that whether my group is able to meet right now or not.

Solitude and Spiritual Growth

There are plenty of activities that I enjoy doing by myself. Golf is one of them. I love playing golf by myself early in the morning. Now don’t get me wrong! I also enjoy spending time with 3 other buddies that like playing golf – we always have a great time. But there is something restful and enjoyable about being the only guy on the course. I get to spend time in God’s creation, I have time to think, and this kind of golf always energizes me. I also like reading a good book, doing yardwork, and taking a walk or a drive by myself. Solitude isn’t sad. Jesus retreated and spent time away from the pressing needs of the day.

The Bible tells the story of people who spent time alone with God. It also encourages us to spend alone time to think about and meditate on God and His Word. Consider:

  • The Ethiopian eunuch was reading alone from the Old Testament as he journeyed in his chariot (Acts 8:26ff).
  • Jesus frequently retreated to lonely places to commune with his Heavenly Father (Luke 5:16).
  • Daniel spent time alone praying daily, to the point it was noticed and resulted in a crisis of faith (Daniel 6:10-28).
  • The psalms instruct us to meditate and spend time with God’s Word (Psalm 1:2-3).

5 Things to Decide on to Enhance Your Spiritual Growth as an Individual

To make new strides in taking ownership of your spiritual growth, here are some things you’ll want to decide upon in advance. Meeting with groups for Bible study is great. Meeting alone with God is equally as great, and can propel your relationship forward!

  1. Decide on a daily time you’ll study and meet with God in His Word. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Go with what works for you.
  2. Decide on a place to do your studying. Make it the same place each day.
  3. Decide on a topic that interests you. What have you always wanted to know more about when it comes to God’s Word? There’s a study out there for you!
  4. Decide on your overall time commitment in weeks. How many weeks can you give to a concerted effort to meet with God daily? 4 weeks? 8 weeks? 12 weeks? How big a bite do you want to take? There’s a study for that, too.
  5. Decide on a study, order it, and begin! It’s literally that simple.

We are realizing that even though groups may not be meeting during COVID-19, we can transfer the responsibility for spiritual growth to us. We don’t have to wait for a teacher or pastor to instruct us. We can choose to spend time with God in His Word, which will transfer the responsibility for growth to us, where it belongs in the first place.

If you need a starting point for finding a study for yourself, I recommend starting with my company’s website! Click here to jump to lifeway.com where you will be able to search hundreds of studies that will help you grow even though your group may not be meeting right now.

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