6 Critical Factors for Spiritual Growth

As a leader, how are you helping people in these six critical factors of spiritual growth?

Spiritual Growth

1. Personal spiritual practices
Growing Christians pursue Jesus on their own through prayer, Bible reading, serving, giving, or other spiritual practices.

Resource: Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life by Donald Whitney

2. Meaningful spiritual friendships
We need others to help us grow. Friends encourage us, challenge us, support us, and expose weaknesses in us.

Resource: “Spiritual Friendship” by Tim Keller (sermon)

3. Taking risks in life or ministry
Risks and challenges always stretch our faith and make us rely on God. We don’t grow through comfort and convenience, but through risk.

Resource: If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg

4. Relevant equipping / teaching
There are lots of great things to learn, but it’s irrelevant unless we’re eager to learn it. That’s when we need people to show us the way.

Resource: “Creating Irresistible Environments” by Andy Stanley (conference message)

5. Moments of crisis
God often uses crisis and pain to get our attention and help us grow. This is when we need others to support us as we learn through the pain.

Resource: A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Jerry Sittser

6. Continual rediscovery of the gospel
The gospel is not advice, it’s news. Powerful news that shapes everything. Spiritual growth happens as we deep our appreciation for the implications of the gospel.

Resource: A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love by Milton Vincent


Which of these six has helped you grow the most?

(HT: Image Credit)

Published by Luke Simmons

I was born and raised in Denver, CO and lived there through high school. Then I moved to Champaign, IL where I attended the University of Illinois and played on the Fighting Illini baseball team. I was married in December, 2001 to Molly, who I met at the U of I. In June of 2002, we moved to Phoenix and have been here ever since.

4 thoughts on “6 Critical Factors for Spiritual Growth

  1. For me the greatest “shot in the arm” was the spiritual discipline of reading through the Bible in a year. I origianlly foollowed a reading plan put out by Walk through the Bible, which they still provide. But almost every Study Bible has one or more suggested plans included in their study pages. And, of course, now there are dozens of plans available on line. (And, yes, there probab ly is an APP for that, too.) I’ll never forget the joy of actually having completed reading all 66 books for the first time. Then, it truly because a habit that cotninues to this day. I was reading 2 Timothy this very morning….

  2. Sadly, # 5 (Moments of Crisis). I say sadly, because I know I don’t do # 1 (Personal spiritual practices) well and think #1 would have more long-term growth over my lifetime and would likely help me in times of crisis!

  3. Good thoughts, guys.

    @Howard, this makes me think of the REVEAL report commissioned by Willow Creek that determined that the primary catalyst of spiritual growth was personal Bible reading. The secular folks running the study came to the pastors and said, “People need to read their Bibles!”

    @Troy, Isn’t God gracious to pursue us and keep us growing? He finishes what he starts.

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