What if you could survey about 80,000 people in more than 200 churches about their spiritual growth and how it happens?
What if those people were all along a spiritual continuum – from merely “exploring” faith in Christ to an “all in” Christ-centered commitment?
What if you could measure over fifty factors to assess their impact on spiritual growth?
And what if those factors included: (1) beliefs and attitudes; (2) organized church activities; (3) personal spiritual activities; and (4) spiritual activities with others?
What do you think such a survey might reveal?
Well, we don’t have to wonder. Such a survey has actually been done and its results were summarized in a report called “Follow Me: What’s Next for You?” by Greg Hawkins and Cally Parkinson (Willow Creek: 2008).
And what was one of the two biggest “breakthrough discoveries” of this comprehensive study? It was this:
“The Bible is the most powerful catalyst for spiritual growth. The Bible’s power to advance spiritual growth is unrivaled by anything else we’ve discovered. Reflection on Scripture is by far the most influential spiritual practice . . .. It is the catalyst most predictive of spiritual growth” (pp. 105-106).
Indeed, Cally Parkinson writes to church leaders:
“Is your congregation fully aware of the importance of reflection on Scripture for their spiritual health? Do they know that nothing beats time spent in the Bible in terms of its power to advance spiritual growth? Are they aware that no matter where they are on their spiritual journey that nothing matters more to their spiritual development—including church services, serving activities, small groups—than time spent in God’s Word? Nothing beat the Bible.” (p. 117)
We shouldn’t really be surprised at what the survey says, should we? It merely reflects what our Lord Jesus taught us long ago:
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever your wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15:7-8).
So, I’m compelled to ask: have you yet found a way to build into your daily pattern of life engagement with God through the Scriptures? Are you reading the Bible every day and asking God to show you how to live in light of what he has revealed?
If yes, keep it up. This habit will produce great spiritual growth over the long haul.
If no, why not text the word Chapter to 22828 today? Sign up for “A Chapter a Day” and begin abiding in the Word along with many, many others and me.
Go ahead. Join us in the journey. Get started today!