“There is a theory of human behavior that says people subconsciously retard their own intellectual growth,” wrote author and business consultant Philip B. Crosby. “They come to rely on cliches and habits.”
Crosby further opined, “Once they reach the age of their own personal comfort with the world, they stop learning and their mind runs on idle for the rest of their days. They may progress organizationally, they may be ambitious and eager, they may even work night and day. But they learn no more.”
Unfortunately, this is not only true in the business world, but also in the Lord’s church. It’s easy to reach a place of comfort with our own spiritually. Our knowledge. Our skill level. Our spiritual growth.
As we’ve observed in the past several weeks, spiritual growth involves increasing our knowledge, developing discernment and growing our convictions. Today, we want to consider “Growing Your Skills.”
Webster defines skill as “the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance… a learned power of doing something competently : a developed aptitude or ability.”
Author Rick Warren writes that “Skill is the ability to do something with ease and accuracy.” Then Warren makes this observation. “You develop a skill, not by listening to a lecture, but by practice and experience…skills are the ‘how to’ steps’ of spiritual growth.”
Skill relates to doing. The Bible commands, “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (Jas.1:22). The Message succinctly says, “Act on what you hear.” It is our actions that evidence our faith, demonstrates our discipleship, and measures the degree of our spiritual growth.
Our actions show the world that we are Christ-followers…that we belong to the family of God. Jesus said, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Lk. 8:21).
Sowing seeds for spiritual growth necessitates developing and growing in certain skills. Consider these 10 skills.
- Bible study skills
- Prayer skills
- Worship skills
- Outreach skills
- Relationship skills
- Marriage skills
- Parenting skills
- Teaching skills
- Leadership skills
- Life skills
These skills cannot be developed unintentionally or accidentally, but must be pursued with purpose and acquired intentionally. That requires teaching, training and equipping. Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher” (Lk. 6:40). The church with its pastors, preachers and teachers has been mandated the responsibility to assist in equipping Christians to grow their skills.
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:11-12)
Unfortunately, the church is filled with believers who’ve never been taught how to study the Bible. Or lead in prayer. Or how to appropriately praise God in spirit and in truth. Most churches assume that new converts will learn just by watching others. However, this often falls far short of the mark. Depending on the demographics of the church, Shepherds should provide training in practical, relational life skills. How to build a Bible-based, Christ-centered marriage. How to be a godly parent. How be a good steward. Too many churches have unqualified leaders or no one willing to become a spiritual leader, because they’ve never received leadership training.
The good news is that some churches are rising to the occasion. We hear of new converts classes. Small group studies on home and family. Special classes for men aspiring to be Shepherds. Women’s weekends with female speakers addressing the needs of our sisters in Christ. And, special events designed for our young people on how to live godly in an ungodly world.
The more we equip Christians in growing their skills, the more effective and faithful disciples they will become. The wise man was right when he wrote, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success” (Eccl. 10:10).
If you belong to a church failing to provide training in the skills you need, fortunately there are resources online, from the web pages of larger churches, and through various books and seminars that will help you develop the skills needed for growth.
If you think, that you can be satisfied with the status quo, be content where you are, and fail to grow, remember Jesus’ parable of the talents. And His scathingly condemnation of the one talent man who failed to use what he had and do what he could (Matt. 25:14-30). So, whether you are the 5 talent, 2 talent, or 1 talent person, God expects you to grow. To improve. And to increase.
Never quit honing your skills. It’s said that Spanish composer and cellist, Pablo Casals still practiced 6 hours a day at age 95. When asked, “Why?” He replied, “Because, I think I’m making progress.”
What about you? Are you making progress?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
3 responses to “Growing Your Skills”
Ouch, but thank you! I needed that.
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