What do you mean MY Faith Journey?
In the mission statement of Atonement, we declare that we are “a church under the leadership of Jesus Christ where . . .” and then we go on to list several statements that describe how that leadership is lived out. The very first one states that “growth is expected.” That spiritual growth, the act of moving closer in a relationship to Jesus Christ takes place in what we like to call the faith journey. It’s YOUR journey—the church, the pastors, it’s members, no one else can take that journey or contribute to it’s progress for you.
The faith journey can be graphically depicted as our path toward growing closer to Jesus. Becoming an active part of the Atonement faith community will challenge you as well as deepen your relationship with the Savior of the world.
We feel that our job is to help you grow closer to Jesus and over the past few years our leadership has been exploring ways to accelerate this growth. You will find that your faith journey toward Jesus will exhibit certain characteristics in your life, many which will be obvious to you and to others. On this page and in other resources, we’ll attempt to illustrate what we have learned about spiritual growth to help you understand this journey.
By the way, the study of this faith journey is not some unique teaching at Atonement nor is it a homegrown concept. It is part of a study of over 500,000 people in more than 2,000 churches. Data has been collected and analyzed to help us understand how one is able to grow as well as practices and beliefs that indicate movement. Atonement continues to take part in this study to measure how well our people are moving along in their spiritual growth. We encourage you to participate the next time we announce a survey to gauge its effectiveness in helping personal spiritual growth.
The stages of spiritual growth
In our discovery process, we learned that in the faith journey there are four main stages of spiritual growth. We call these stages Meeting Jesus, Following Jesus, Keeping Close to Jesus and Loving Like Jesus. To better understand these stages, there are certain descriptive statements that refer to each of these stages. Those statements include:
- Meeting Jesus – “I believe in God, but I am not sure about Jesus. My faith is not a significant part of my life.”
- Following Jesus – “I believe in Jesus and I am working on what it means to get to know him.”
- Keeping close to Jesus – “I feel really close to Jesus and depend on him daily for guidance.”
- Loving like Jesus – “My relationship with Jesus is the most important relationship in my life. It guides everything I do.
If we were to plot the faith journey out graphically, it might look something like this:
Wow! That’s really confusing and why isn’t the path just a straight line from me to Jesus? Well, in order to really understand this journey more completely, we suggest that you take some time to listen to our senior pastor, Don Wink, explain this in a manner that will become very clear. The media player below will allow you to hear his message about the Faith Journey. The scripture passages that Pastor Don refers to in the message are Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and Luke 14:25-33. The images he talks about (“four red boxes”) are the illustrations shown immediately above. As always, we encourage you to ask questions and explore this process for yourself.
It’s up to you. Are you ready to grow?
As we said, moving forward along the Faith Journey will produce some radical changes in your life. It will touch what you do with your time, how you use your gifts, even how you relate to those around you. But best of all, it will change how you relate to God. So now, the rest is up to you. Take time to determine where you are on the faith journey by completing a Spiritual Health Assessment periodically and measure your progress. Then take a step and grow closer to Jesus Christ.