Close to Christ is the fourth phase of spiritual growth. The sentence we give this one is, “I feel close to Christ and depend on him for guidance.” In the last phase, your main need is connection with the greater church, and you find that in small groups, in baptism, and in membership.
In this phase, you take ownership for your walk with Christ. You realize the value of connection with the church, and you are invested in it, but you are not dependent upon a pastor or small group leader for your spiritual growth.
A majority of your spiritual growth takes place outside of the church, and this is a good thing. The habits that you began developing in the Discovering Christ phase are stronger. You fully expect Christ to be present in your everyday life and want to obey the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
Your actions mirror your commitments and beliefs. You say you believe God is love and then seek to love your neighbor.
You desire to serve others and probably are doing it. The way you serve may be in line with your gifts and talents or may not be. Whether behind the scenes or up front, whether weekly or monthly, you have found a place to serve and are doing it. Those who are Close to Christ can be so passionate about serving that they give themselves to too many things at once, overextending themselves and then feeling the pressure to keep their commitments.
1. Help in setting boundaries with family, work, and ministry. This means perhaps letting go of some areas of service within the church so that you can live out your faith in the home and in the workplace. Even if you’re retired or don’t have kids at home anymore, boundaries are still necessary.
2. Moving from serving because you’re really good at something to apprenticing someone else to serve. The benefit of this is that the church grows and those who would like to serve are given opportunities when you open the door for them.
3. Training in sharing your faith. We call this being on mission. We tend to complicate this by making it about having all the right answers. But people simply need us to be Christ in their lives.
4. Letting Christ deal with some of the areas of your life that you keep closed off. Jesus says to Christians in the book of Revelation, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” And if we’ll let him in, he’ll come in and eat with us. We are quite good at telling Jesus that he can come into certain rooms in our “house,” and keeping him out of other rooms.