If Digging In makes you think of a tree’s roots, Growing Up should make you think of a tree’s trunk. On a sapling, this trunk might be the size of a pencil, but on a giant redwood it might be five feet in diameter. The basic observation is that a tree’s trunk grows in proportion to the tree’s overall size. If the trunk remained the same size as it was when it was a sapling, it would not be able to support the branch structure above it. A healthy tree must have a growing trunk.
Keep the tree’s trunk in mind when you hear Growing Up. When a person comes to Christ, he or she is young in the faith with plenty to learn. As he or she studies God’s Word (Dig In) he or she should be changed gradually to look more and more like Christ. This spiritual growth or maturity is what is in mind in Growing Up.
At the same time, spiritual maturity does not happen in a vacuum. God has designed the church as a collection of individuals Growing Up together in the faith. Therefore, developing genuine community is another vital aspect of Growing Up.
Just as a fifty-foot tall tree could not be supported with a pencil thin trunk, a believer who has not grown in his or her faith will not be able to Thrive in his or her relationship with Jesus. Committed disciples cannot be content with “fire insurance salvation” but instead should hunger to live more like Christ in daily life.
There are two primary ways we Grow Up as a church. The first is corporate worship on Sunday mornings. This is a time when we seek God’s face and proclaim His majesty to Him and one another. Basically, when a person has a genuine encounter with the living God he or she cannot leave unchanged. The second way is through Missional Life Institute courses that deepen a person’s understanding of God and prepare him or her for living out his or her faith.