Home Small Group Leaders Articles for Small Group Leaders Spiritual Growth Begins With Discomfort

Spiritual Growth Begins With Discomfort

One of the keys to spiritual growth is knowing and living the Bible. (James 1:22) When a group member is learning the Bible and becomes aware of a biblical expectation that is not being carried out, an attitude that is out of order, or a paradigm that needs to be overhauled, the leader must gently raise the bar of expectation and move that group member toward action.

Spiritual growth occurs when the following phases are recognized and carried out:

Phase 1: The small-group member recognizes a biblical expectation.

Phase 2: The member experiences discomfort when he becomes aware of his need to change a belief or act on a biblical obligation.

Phase 3: The small-group leader wisely guides the group member toward action

Phase 4: The member makes the decision to do what’s right rather than what’s easy.

Phase 5: The small group member commits to the action.

Phase 6: The leader and other group members celebrate with the individual who has courageously moved beyond his comfort zone.

Phase 7: The individual experiences growth and is more easily motivated to take on the next challenge to obedience he encounters in the Bible.

Some will say that a small group should be comfortable and that expecting people to do something out of their comfort zone is asking too much. But when the apostle Paul told a young pastor what Scripture does, he wrote, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Holman CSB).

Most of us don’t like to be taught. We despise being reprimanded and are embarrassed when we are corrected. Training is hard work. Obviously, the Words of God are uncomfortable to know and even more uncomfortable when they demand a changed mindset or lifestyle.

Andy Rooney nailed it when he gave us these wise words, “Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” It’s the responsibility of the leader not only help the small group member get to the top of the mountain, but to motivate him toward the precipice and encourage him along the way. In most instances, encouraging group members to change a paradigm or shift a lifestyle choice is uncomfortable. But that’s where spiritual growth begins.

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Rick has one passion… To see “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet making disciples that make disciples.” He is presently pursuing this passion as the Small Group and Discipleship Specialist at LifeWay Church Resources. Rick has authored or co-authored multiple books, studies, and leader training resources including A Different Kind of Tribe: Embracing the New Small Group Dynamic, Destination Community: Small Group Ministry Manual, The Gospel and the Truth: Living the Message of Jesus, Small Group Life Ministry Manual: A New Approach to Small Groups, Redeeming the Tears: a Journey Through Grief and Loss, Small Group Life: Kingdom, Small Group Kickoff Retreat: Experiential Training for Small Group Leaders, and Great Beginnings: Your First Small Group Study, Disciples Path: A Practical Guide to Disciple Making. Rick’s varied ministry experiences as an collegiate minister, small group pastor, teaching pastor, elder, full-time trainer and church consultant, as well as having been a successful church planter gives him a perspective of church life that is all-encompassing and multi-dimensional. Rick is a highly sought after communicator and trainer.