Illustration #1) Personal Growth
Three Stages of a Christian (1 John 2:12-14)
We need to make visits with people in our church strategic. Each appointment, whether with a newcomer or church member, can be turned into a special opportunity to grow. Our goal for visiting the Christian is to take them one step further along the path of growth in Christ. (See page #1 of this article).
This particular illustration rotates around how God has designed each person to personally grow. As we help an individual see God's design for them to grow, they are more inclined to want to know how they can personally grow.
After a pleasant time of introduction and prayer, we might ask if we can share with the person(s) that we are visiting the three stages of a Christian. With their permission, we then turn to 1 John 2:12-14 with their own Bible and ask them to read and distinguish the three levels of a Christian. Much more is said on this elsewhere, but we need to keep things simple.
If they are familiar with Bible study, they should be able to pick out the three levels mentioned by John. Each one is repeated twice. We simply expound on this by saying that God is using the growth of a human as an analogy to show us how Christians spiritually grow. If a person seems open, he might ask him to distinguish the difference between an infant, a teenage and an adult at their different stages of spiritual growth.
Let me briefly go over the needs of Christians who are in each stage.
When talking we should sketch out for them a simple diagram with the three categories. Don’t make it too formal. It might even be on a napkin! Some people are visual learners. In any case it helps focus people’s attention especially when little children are running around. Furthermore, it helps people to remember your conversation after you leave.
We want them to notice how the three stages become a pattern of growth. One stage happens after another. Everyone is growing. You might ask them when they became Christians and how many of those years were ‘growing’ years. You can draw a simple line and share how you at times have grown or not grown. This is the natural flow. If they are more mature Christians, make sure you note how even the fathers are growing in their relationship with the eternal holy One. This never stops.
This naturally helps raise the question of where they fit in. Ask them directly which category they best fit in. You might review the three categories as they reflect. Remember that we are not to think that any of these stages are wrong or bad. They all lead to growth. As much as they are open, discuss how long they have been at that level. Discuss what their present struggles are.
It is here that we can tie together the way our own church helps Christians grow. We should emphasize their own level but might quickly mention how each group is being encouraged to grow. This helps provide an overview. If your church has cell groups (small groups), then show them how Christians can easily grow in places where people are mutually accountable. Again, it is much like how a person grows in the family. The older they get, the more responsibility they share.
Let me summarize the procedure. We have taken one scripture passage and showed them how each Christian is at a certain level of growth. We grow like human beings grow. We all start small and grow up. We invite them to best choose where they fit in. If individuals are very reluctant to share about themselves, you might ask if you can share how you have grown in the past. Think about where they are at and choose some significant way God helped you to grow at that stage.
After sharing the scripture with them, they will probably will be challenged by God’s Word. They might be rather embarrassed at their lack of growth. They might be only in stage two after ten years of being a Christian. We just keep emphasizing how God wants to help them grow wherever they are at. It is through this door we share how our own training ministries can help people grow more. And as we grow, we should emphasize how we can be used to help others grow. For example, you could mention how the church has relatively new Christians helping in basic one-on-one discipleship training for other new believers. If we have run out of time, we can stop here, pray together and ask if you can keep in contact with them.
Next page >The Flow has two main scriptural foundations. The first discusses the levels of growth that produces the actual current or momentum. We want to work along with this. The second is discussed below.BFF Homepage | Back | Next | The FLOW Explained | BFF Topics
Biblical Foundations for Freedom
 Depending upon a person’s experience on visiting others, this request to teach others might be awkward. We encourage you not to be too shy. Sometimes there are other things that must be discussed. Trust your situation into God’s hands. Follow His leading. You never know how God might open the door to speak from His Word even though it might be through a different ‘door.’
 If the television is on, you might politely request them to turn it off. You might say something like, “I am not sure if you are watching anything important, but if not, can we turn the television off for a while?”