I love hearing people’s testimonies.  Celebrating the uniqueness of each powerful story encourages my faith in who God is and what he can do.

One thing I have noticed about those who grow in Christ is that even though their stories are different, common components emerge in almost every story.  In fact, the more stories I hear, the more often I listen for specific traits.

Oftentimes, I will ask someone this simple question: “What were the most important factors in your spiritual growth that made you who you are today?”  As they make bullet points of their personal testimony, I then see if I find these common threads.

In the stories of growing disciples, I often find these 6 common components: event, environment, example, encourager, equipment, and engagement.

Here’s what I mean:

  1. EventDo you have a milestone in your life when the gospel changed you?  In most stories, there is a defining moment or moments that changed everything.  Whether positive or negative, that event served as a catalyst for spiritual growth.
  2. EnvironmentWhat regular faith gatherings shaped who you are today?  These regular faith gatherings served to shape one’s faith leanings.  The consistent pattern and relationships in those pivotal services or studies made a lasting impact.
  3. ExampleWho is the mentor you aspired to follow?  Whether intentional or unintentional, oftentimes, you find an example that inspired you.  Some mentor cast a shadow over your life that caused you to pursue everything differently.
  4. EncouragerWho is the friend who walked beside you and pushed you towards Christ?  While the example walked in front of you, this encourager walked beside you.  Most growing disciples had people spurring them on during critical junctures of their lives.
  5. EquipmentWhat spiritual disciplines trained you to grow in godliness?  While the discipline may vary, oftentimes, particular equipment was utilized during an important time.  When a particular discipline became a passionate habit, significant growth occurred.
  6. EngagementHow did you intentionally invest in another with what you learned?  For most disciples, a moment occurred when they stopped receiving and started giving.  When a disciple begins to engage in the mission and give one’s life away, rapid growth is always a byproduct.

If you look back over you story, how many of these 6 elements do you discover?  Are there any lacking significantly from your life?