We believe that to grow in our relationship with Jesus, we have to be intentional. At VCC, we use a simple tool called The Discipleship Circle to help us stay intentional about spiritual growth. Here is how The Discipleship Circle is meant to be used:
It reminds us that to grow spiritually we must keep Christ at the center of our lives. The cross in the center reminds us that Jesus isn’t just a great teacher to follow, but he is the Savior to be received. We will not be able to grow spiritually if we haven’t first received Christ as our Savior and been empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The thin circles surrounding Christ and the cross indicate daily practices that help us keep Christ at the center. Those daily practices are prayer and Bible study.
The thicker outside circle that is divided into five segments represents spiritual disciplines that we should regularly engage in if we desire to grow. They are:
Connect. This reminds us that we should be regularly connecting with God in public worship with other believers. Our Sunday worship services serve an important role in our overall spiritual growth.
Belong. This reminds us that to grow spiritually we need to be committed to a community of believers. We grow best together as we encourage one another toward Christ and spiritual growth. Connect Groups are vitally important to our spiritual health and growth.
Grow. This reminds us that we must be intentional about spiritual growth and that we should give ourselves to times of intensive study and training. At VCC, we offer courses that we call Walking with Jesus Classes (101-401). These classes help us learn to use the Bible and understand it better, develop a Christian worldview, give attention to practices that will aid our spiritual growth, and equip us for service.
Serve. This reminds us that an important aspect of spiritual growth is getting outside of ourselves and serving others in the name of Christ. Primarily in view here are the specific ministries within VCC where we serve within our local body of believers.
Go. This reminds us that disciples of Jesus are to be about the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). A key component of spiritual growth is reaching outside of ourselves to a hurting world that Jesus loves. Jesus has given his church the ministry of reconciliation, and every Christian is to participate in this ministry.
So how can The Discipleship Circle help your growth?
It serves as a reminder of key practices that must be part of our lives if we want to grow. We should regularly do an inventory of our lives and make sure we're praying and reading the Bible daily, being faithful to weekly public worship, committed to a community of believers, giving ourselves to times of intensive study and training, serving within the church, and reaching beyond the church to a world full of people who need Jesus. If we'll be consistent in these practices, spiritual growth will happen!
Practical recommendations to aid your spiritual growth:
1. Commit to reading one chapter of the Bible each day.
- If you're not currently consistent with reading the Bible, we recommend committing to one chapter a day. Pray before reading the chapter that God would help you understand and receive what you're going to read, then read the chapter, meditate on it, pray again, and then ask yourself the following questions: 1) What does the passage say? 2) How am I doing with what it says? 3) Give specific examples. 4) What am I going to do about it? Write out your answers.
2. Commit to praying 10 minutes each day.
- It may not sound like much, but if you're currently not praying on a consistent basis, committing to a realistic amount of time such as 10 minutes will help you become consistent. You can increase your prayer time as you find yourself being consistent with the 10 minutes. We recommend your prayer include: 1) thanks to God for the good things he's done in your life 2) prayer for the work of Christ in the world and 3) prayer for personal needs, friends, and family.
3. Attend public worship every week.
- Gathering together to worship God with other Christians and receive public teaching of the Word of God is vitally important to spiritual growth. It is also a wonderful opportunity to serve, which also aids spiritual growth.
4. Commit to a church and get involved in a small group.
- At VCC, we call our small groups Connect Groups. They allow us an opportunity to get to know others and develop lasting friendships with others who are interested in spiritual growth. These friends hold us accountable and encourage us when we struggle.
5. Give yourself to times of intentional and intensive study.
- In addition to daily Bible reading, if we want to grow spiritually, we should commit to times of more intensive study of the Scriptures. At VCC, we offer a 4-part course of classes called Walking with Jesus (101-401) that provide a good opportunity for more intensive study.
6. Serve in a ministry of the church.
- Many opportunities for service are available at VCC.
7. Commit to regular involvement in the Great Commission.
- All Christians are called to the mission of making disciples of all nations. Participating in this mission not only serves the world that Jesus loves, but it is one of the best things any of us can do for our own spiritual growth.
8. Read great books.
- There are so many wonderful resources available to us that can aid our spiritual growth...we are truly blessed to live in a time with such available resources. CLICK HERE for a recommended reading list.