Developing Christian Character

How Do People Grow and Develop Character?

What is Spiritual Formation?

Spiritual Formation is the process of developing the character (life skills) and competencies (ministry skills) of Christ in a believer’s life.

What is the Goal of Spiritual Formation?

  • Romans 8:29, For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
  • Galatians 4:19, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!
  • 1 John 2:6, “the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
  • 1 Peter 2:21, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,”
  • 1 Cor. 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”
  • Colossians 1:28-29, We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why is Spiritual Formation (Character Development) so Important in the Church?

There is a character crisis in the church that has led to a leadership vacuum.

  • “If a leader demonstrates competency, genuine concern for others, and admirable character, people will follow.” — T. Richard Chase
  • “T. Richard Chase distills the basic components that followers look for in a leader. Are they competent? Do they really care for people? Do they possess strong character? Everything else is icing on the cake. Followers can endure a wide spectrum of differences in their leaders, but these three elements are non-negotiable.” — John C. Maxwell
  • “An important question for leaders: ‘Am I building people, or building my dream and using people to do it?”‘ — John C. Maxwell
  • Our goal isn’t to build a big church — but to build big people. If we invest in people, and develop them into mission-driven people, we will see our dream for the church accomplished. People quickly ascertain whether we are building them or using them.”— Jack Hayford
  • It’s not enough to just get the job done, but we must become more like Christ in the process.

It’s important that our competence (ministry skills) doesn’t surpass our character (life skills).

Character Competence

What happens when our competence exceeds our character? What do we call the difference? (A disaster, a crisis, a fall from grace, bad ink. The world looks on and says the church is full of hypocrites).

Character is a non-negotiable in ministry. The Apostle Paul put it this way – ‘giving no cause for offense in anything, so that the ministry will not be discredited“— 2 Corinthians 6:3 cp. “above reproach” (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7)

[Based on my classes with Richard D. Leineweber, Jr. c. 2000]

Top Ten Christmas Movie Quotes

Christmas is a busy time of year, and sometimes busyness takes the joy out of it all, but the Christmas season is also a time for memories. The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. for me, nothing brings out a few memories than the classic songs and movies.

This is from Cheryl Shireman who is the Small Group Network Director of Marketing, and  I wanted to pass on this top ten list, enjoy:

10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, 1966:  “And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”

9. Elf, 2003: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

8. The Santa Clause, 1994: “Who gave you permission to tell Charlie there was no Santa Claus? I think if we’re going to destroy our son’s delusions, I should be a part of it.”

7. Miracle on 34th Street, 1947: “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.”

6. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, 1964: “A toy is never truly happy until it is loved by a child.”

5. Home Alone, 1990: “Keep the change, you filthy animal!”

4. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, 1989: “I don’t know what to say, except it’s Christmas and we’re all in misery.”

3. A Christmas Story, 1983: “Next to me in the blackness lay my oiled blue steel beauty. The greatest Christmas gift I had ever received, or would ever receive. Gradually, I drifted off to sleep, pranging ducks on the wing and getting off spectacular hip shots.”

2. It’s A Wonderful Life, 1946: “What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.”

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas, 1965: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men. And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

What others might you add to this list?

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