In church on Sunday, the pastor at the church we visited (2nd time) talked about where in life's spiritual continuum are we. He gave a physical illustration on a white board. There were the (what I like to call) "pre-Christian". He called them explorers, seekers, questioners. Those who have not confessed Jesus as The Christ and Savior. He advocated that those among us who were part of this group can attend classes that the church offers for "explorers" about basics Christianity. The classes teach about Jesus, the church, history, whatever. He also invited them to join in on small groups. Small groups are the smaller intimate groups that meet outside of church gathering times to meet, greet, fellowship, learn, get to know one another and mentor/lead one another to a deeper relationship with Jesus.
From this point on, I've added my own thoughts to those he gave
The second group were the people "In Christ". They are a large part of what the church is made up of. They can be new to Christianity, or long time followers that haven't really matured much since accepting Him. They might be growing some, but not significantly. They tend to ride the merry-go-round that keeps bringing them back to the same hard lessons that God has set before them to learn from. They tend to be frustrated (merry-go-round riding is not fun after awhile) It's fun for baby's and little children, but maturing adults find it frustrating and mind numbing after a couple times around. Life is like that too. The funny thing is that those of us who are stuck on the merry-go-rounds, can get off any time we want. All we have to do is take that next step of faith and start walking from there. Oh, we might fall flat on our faces on that first step, but at least we're going somewhere. We get up, take another step, look for the exit and away we go. The pastor suggested more classes, bible reading, prayer, and small groups to this group.
The third group he called the "Close to Christ" group. They are "following" Christ. They are seeking to get closer and closer to Jesus. They were maturing. The only draw backs he found were that there were many in this group that wished they got the undivided attention that the first two groups get from the church. It's understandable. To me its sort of like middle-schoolers who want to be treated as adults, but still miss recess. Or college students who now are expected to make all their own decisions - that what they've been hoping, wishing, and screaming to do for so long - and find that it's not all what they thought it would be. This group is now expected to lead and to serve the first two groups. All that Bible lessons are basically over. This group has learned just about all there needs to be learned in order to do what they need to do - serve.
Next week he plans on teaching about another group of even more mature Christians, he called Christ Centered. HHmm. Where am I on this continuum? Am I pleasing Christ with where I am? Am I still in high school or college? I sometimes think that as I do things that I believe Jesus has lead me to do, I then question, was it enough. Is He pleased? Is He proud of me? Does that make me the middle-schooler or the Christ centered?
When I talked about seeking to be in a "normal life" at least for awhile, I then fear that I will end up back on the merry-go-round. Is a life with 7 kids at home, 5 adult children, and 3 grand children and trying to lead my little recruits in a life with Christ "normal"? Is it extraordinary? I want to be extraordinary. I don't want to be a luke warm Christian. I want to make a difference in my children's lives, my extended family's life, in my community and on this planet.