Most every ministry and church has as part of their purpose to help bring people to "spiritual maturity." Unfortunately, most of us don't have a very clear picture of exactly what spiritual maturity is. Here is a report from the Barna Group (and reported by the Campus Ministry Update) that talks about our confusion regarding this.
A study by the Barna Group and Living on the Edge indicates most churchgoers and clergy are unsure of what they mean by spiritual maturity, let alone how to pursue it. Among the challenges identified by the report:
* Most Christians equate spiritual maturity with following the rules
* Most church goers are unclear of what their church expects in terms of spiritual maturity
* Most Christians offer one dimensional views of spiritual maturity – often with a highly personal focus
* Most Christians struggle with feeling the relevance of expressing objectives for spirituality. They favor activities over attitudes in what they should do as mature Christians
* Pastors are surprisingly vague about the biblical references they use to ground their ideas of spiritual maturity.
(Barna.org May 18, 2009)
The problem with not understanding spiritual maturity is that we don't know where we should be going or how to get there. And if we don't understand God's perspective on spiritual maturity, then we are apt to set our own goals and standards, which may be far different than what God values.
So ... what do you think of when you think of spiritual maturity? How would you describe or define it? Let me know what you think and I'll come back in a couple of days and share some of my thoughts on the subject.