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How Do We Grow in Christ?

by Gunnar Johnson

The other day I was in a heart-to-heart conversation with one of my best friends about being fed spiritually, and he made an interesting statement. He expressed his sense of jealousy that I am fed at my church in weekend services and in the men’s group I attend on Wednesday mornings. His statement came from his situation of not being fed at his church and in his growing frustration at the situation. I understand the frustrating feeling of dissatisfaction in the local church, and I also know what it feels like to be in an incredible move of God through a local fellowship. This begs the question, “How do we grow in Christ?”

My response surprised him and created an interesting exchange. I explained that I am not fed by a local church on the weekend or my men’s group primarily, and instead I see that as the dessert in the spiritual meal. I am primarily fed spiritually in my daily time with the Lord, and I don’t just mean a 15-minute structured morning quiet time. For me, I love to read the Bible at any chance I get or to listen to Chuck Missler’s expositional teaching through the Bible while I am driving or I listen to audio Bibles as I am working. As you can tell, God wired me to be an auditory learner. Throughout each day I spend as much time as I can praying and listening. There are many situations that cause me to stop and ask for wisdom and God’s guidance hourly. Being fed spiritually by revelation through God’s word in private Bible study and prayer equips me to do all God tasks me to do. Modern busyness is a cancer to the soul, and in this day and age, we are surrounded by constant distractions. This is a deliberate strategy of the enemy to keep us from growing in Christ. To put the full burden of spiritual development on the local church in an hour or two per week is a recipe for disaster.

Don’t get me wrong I am all for church attendance and fellowship groups, but as a believer walking with Christ, my spiritual nourishment comes from a relationship with God not just gathering in a corporate church environment.

With this conversation fresh on my mind I called Koinonia House board member and friend, Chris Corlett, for his insights. He is full of wisdom and has been a lifelong educator throughout his career. He also oversees the Koinonia Institute which is our ministry’s premier Bible online study environment.

“Chris, how are we fed spiritually?” His answer was excellent, and I am only giving you a brief summary of our dialog. He quoted many different scriptures including 2nd Thessalonians 1:3, much of Romans 12, Acts 2:42 and several other verses wrapping up by saying the measure of growing in Christ is how much you abound in love.

He said, “I must be with other Christians as iron sharpens iron and as Hebrews reminds us to not forsake the gathering with believers because we grow in and through relationships. Megachurch, medium church, small church, or home church doesn’t really matter as long as you are growing in love as part of a community in your walk with Christ.” Brilliant insight Chris.

Dr. Missler used to say in his experience, being a Bible student for more than 65 years, the most impactful time of growth personally and in his observation of other people happens when meeting in a small group during the week for deep Bible study and discussion. Not just simply meeting for social agendas but meeting with the focus to study the Bible. Thinking back in my life, I have also seen this to be true for me.

Chuck Missler has been a big part of my spiritual development. When I was 18 and a drywall finisher I listened to the Bible on audio repeatedly for many months, then my future father-in-law gave me a Chuck Missler cassette tape to listen through and discuss with him on the job site. From then on I was hooked, cassette tapes lead to MP3 CDs, then digital downloads. For eight years while in construction I listened to every book of the Bible and every chapter taught by Chuck Missler over and over. While on church staff I had a shelf full of commentaries and drywall tools along with my drywall covered Bible as a reminder of God’s equipping in my life. God used these tools to equip me to go into full-time vocational ministry and ultimately for what I do today for K-House as well as my business training churches on generosity and discipleship using analytics.

Commentaries, drywall tools, and drywall covered Bible
Commentaries, drywall tools, and drywall covered Bible

Do you find yourself wandering in a spiritual desert looking for an encounter with the water of life? Let’s get very practical, Jesus has used K-House to create several outstanding tools for your spiritual development. These will assist you to grow in knowledge and Grace in the Lord. (2 Peter 3:18)

We want you to be a part of the local fellowship, and we want you to engage in some form of small group with other believers who will challenge as well as encourage you in your walk with God. More than just attending church we want you to digest the Bible book after book, precept upon precept. Koinonia House has an extensive library of Bible study tools (store.khouse.org) Take a deep dive into scripture and seriously interact with the Word. Emulate the Bereans described in Acts 17: 11. “Now the Bereans were more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they listen with all readiness yet searched the Scriptures daily to see if these things are true.”

Find friends that help you form a community so that you grow in grace and love for others. Determine your spiritual gifts and pray for God to open doors for you to use your gifts to build the Kingdom. I was a drywall finisher from Texas called to teach the Bible on money, and God opened doors for me to do so all over America, Europe, and Israel. God is in the exceeding of expectations business according to Ephesians 3:20!

Another tool created for your encouragement is the Koinonia Institute (koinoniainstitute.org). It is an online Bible Institute with a focus on verse-by-verse, guided but self-paced study where the serious Christians can grow in knowledge, understanding, awareness, and commitment. Students of all ages also have the opportunity to get hands-on experiences to intentionally live out their faith in community.

Obviously, this article is a flyby on a topic that requires deeper study of this important topic. More resources on growing in Christ are available through Khouse.org, on the Koinonia House YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/koinoniahouse) and Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/khouse).

God is using this ministry all over the world to equip believers through a serious study of the Word of God. We ask for your prayer support and financial support. To partner with us, please contact us at Legacy@khouse.org.

Gunnar Johnson
Koinonia House
Legacy Project

If you have any questions please contact me via e-mail at GunnarJ@khouse.org.

This article was originally published in the
October 2018 Personal Update NewsJournal.

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