20 May 2009

Maturity?

Submitted by Paul Brown

Yesterday, I was really humbled by this blog post by the lead pastor at Coram Deo Church in Omaha about the results of their informal church demographics survey. The notable statistic was that 55% of the respondents described themselves as "mature disciples of Jesus". Since the church is comprised of mostly young adults who have mostly been only recently affiliated with the church, the pastor reacted with incredulous shock: "Really? 55% of Coram Deo people are 'mature Christians?' I think some of you are being too generous with yourselves...." As Paul says in Rom 12:3, "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

I must admit, when I imagine how I would have responded on such a survey, I would probably have described myself as "mature". But am I really? This then raises the question of what it means to be a "mature" follower of Christ. The way this was answered in the comment thread was to point to this sermon on the subject, which outlines the three-fold areas of gospel, mission, and community as the barometers of maturity (something like what is shown below, I guess, based on the audio alone).

Maturity is the intersection of Gospel, Community, and Mission

When I stop and consider all that Christian maturity entails and how young and inexperienced I still am, my mouth is stopped and I am humbled by how far short I fall of "attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13). I guess "maturing" in Bear Valley parlance is probably a better descriptor. After all, I've not arrived, but by God's grace I am heading in the right direction.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:13-14)