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How do we grow spiritually?

For most of us, we have embraced a formula of human effort without realizing it:
Spiritual Disciplines + Frequency + Willpower = Spiritual Growth

Not only do we attend church weekly, but we also sign up for a small group, serve regularly, and tithe. We read our Bible and pray daily!

Surprisingly, for most people, joy, freedom, and growth are not found on the other side of that equation. Something is missing.


Instead of working harder or trying to find the missing link in the formula, maybe what we need is a new map.

“If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4)

Jesus assumes spiritual growth is an organic process directly dependent upon Him. All we do is partner with the process.

What does this partnership look like?


A factory worker has a focus on the end product. If the result is not desirable, a step was missed or the formula was wrong.

What if our approach to spiritual growth was like a farmer? Farmers work incredibly hard, but have limited control over the harvest. They cultivate the soil and prepare an environment where growth can happen.

Farming includes effort, but also deep surrender and dependence.  There is a partnership with mystery.


How do we partner with mystery? God is alive and present in our lives, waiting to guide us. The faith journey is a series of invitations.

How do we quiet our lives to recognize the voice of God? Can we sense the invitations through Scripture, prayer, and community? Do we have the courage to respond?

What if instead of a formula, we trusted God to be our guide to a future we could not imagine?


Each journey with God is different. As we hear God’s invitations, there is a need for honest conversations.

We need to wrestle with questions as they arise. Questions like: What is God really like? What does God really think of me? What does He want me to do? What should I expect of God? What is the purpose of my life? Why does God let bad things happen to me? The questions can be endless.

We need a place of dialogue and exploration. Where possibilities replace propositions. A safe place to have doubts, honest questions, and real desire.


As we learn the truth about God and ourselves, we have to understand the lens we look through, shaped by our childhood, personality, and experiences.

What if our reality does not match the truth we are taught? What if our lens is distorted and we don’t realize it? How do we change something that is so engrained in us?

God invites us to partner with Him, within community, to address our unique barriers and experience authentic friendship with Him.


Spiritual formation happens when we have honest conversations about how we view of God, ourself, and others. These conversations attempt to replace distorted and destructive ideas with the truth of God found in Scripture. As we wrestle with our questions, we try to slow down the busyness of life in order to hear God’s invitations. When we respond to those invitations, and partner with what God is doing, beautiful things happen. Hope is reborn. Freedom is found. We start to experience God in a new way; a way we have been longing for.  It is not about a program.  It is about desire.  And surrender.