Monday my intrepid ministry staff met again to pick up where we left off in our close reading of the book Move. They had beverages, I however had not eaten all day and had a tasty tuna fish sandwich. I wish I had specified that the bread be toasted because it was soggy. Other than that, the sandwich was fine. It was not worth $9 though.
Part two of Move: What 1000 Churches Reveal About Spiritual Growth is the section which gives the book its name. These five chapters detail the twenty-five catalysts that help people move from one level of spiritual growth to another. For example, it details what happens in a persons life to move them from being a person who is Exploring Christ to a person who is Close to Christ. Since there are four categories of spiritual health (details in my earlier blog) there are three movements.
The first movement indicates several trends which are not easily explainable. The book details that church activities and theological affirmation are the key catalysts that help people along. In other words, the beliefs people adopt are what move them–not their relationships. These beliefs are a salvation by grace and in the Trinity.
The second movement is all about how people view God in their lives. The writers of the book use the nomenclature of “personal God” for this concept which hinges on the border between belief and practice. When people begin to believe that God is personal to them and that he cares for their lives, then their involvement in daily prayer for guidance and reading and reflecting on the Scripture is more frequent and more meaningful.
While the first and second movements are hard to explain, the third is near impossible to put into words. This last and critical maturing move is highlighted by such attitudes as “giving my life away” and “Christ is first”. These individuals are highly motivated and the survey findings reveal that the catalyst for movement to this level is not found inside church activities. Instead it is nurtured by personal or independent activities rather than organized worship, studies, or service.
This section has one chapter for each of these movements as well as an opening chapter on overall implications and insights. The section finishes with what I thought was a clumsy non sequitur about people who stall or are dissatisfied.
In Part 2 I found the following observations interesting and instructional:
- The church as an organization is irreplaceable in helping people making the first movement, but then is actually a barrier to making the third movement.
- Belief–and the acceptance of cornerstone beliefs–are more important than experiences such as trauma or disaster in people making these spiritual steps toward maturing.
- Time and again it was revealed that he most important catalytic activity is for people to read the Bible and reflect on it. Nothing else is as significant for spiritual growth.
This was the most wonkish of the sections and not as informative as the first section. I am, however, looking forward to the third section. Time and again the authors keep promising how great the third section is for helping church leaders do better. I can’t wait. I promise to share my results in a follow up blog sometime next week.