Growing to Be Like Christ: Six Sessions on Discipleship

(Paperback - Aug 2002)
$9.99 - Online Price
Parable recommended!


Spiritual maturity doesn t happen by accident. The six sessions in this study equip you for the basic habits of spiritual growth: relying on the Holy Spirit, cultivating time in the Bible and prayer, seeing life s obstacles as opportunities for growth, and partnering with Christians who are committed to supporting your growth. Here is a realistic, practical path to growing strong in faith and Christian character. Doing Life Together is a groundbreaking study It s] the first small group curriculum built completely on the purpose-driven paradigm The greatest reason I m excited about it] is that I ve seen the dramatic changes it produces in the lives of those who study it. From the foreword by Rick Warren Based on the five biblical purposes that form the bedrock of Saddleback Church, Doing Life Together will help your group discover what God created you for and how you can turn this dream into an everyday reality. Experience the transformation firsthand as you begin Connecting, Growing, Developing, Sharing, and Surrendering your life together for him."


  • SKU: 9780310246749
  • UPC: 025986246747
  • SKU10: 0310246741
  • Title: Growing to Be Like Christ: Six Sessions on Discipleship
  • Series: Doing Life Together
  • Qty Remaining Online: 6
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Date Published: Aug 2002
  • Pages: 112
  • Illustrated: Yes
  • Weight lbs: 0.36
  • Dimensions: 9.12" L x 6.06" W x 0.30" H
  • Features: Illustrated, Bibliography
  • Themes: Theometrics | Evangelical;
  • Category: STUDY GUIDE
  • Subject: Christian Education - Adult

Chapter Excerpt

Chapter One


Recently Dee asked me to run a half marathon with her-a race that would take place in a few months. Although I wanted so much to run the race with her, experience the excitement of being in a marathon, and spend time with her, my initial answer to her was no. I went home thinking about why. Why didn't I want to run this race? Eventually the reason became clear: I wasn't willing to do what it would take beforehand to run the race well. I wasn't willing to pay the cost of time and training in my schedule. I have other priorities that are more important to me.

I face the same decision every day in my spiritual life. If I really want to know Jesus Christ intimately, it takes time, energy, and the decision to let the Holy Spirit be in control of my life. Frankly, there are many days when I don't feel like sweating that hard! The only reason I drag out those spiritual running shoes one more time is that I've had glimpses of the prize-knowing Jesus. Experiencing the prize motivates me to do the tough training. -Denise


In order to support each other in our spiritual growth, we need to build strong connections with each other. One way we do this is by continually sharing pieces of our lives. As we do so, keep in mind that each of us is a work in progress and that God can work in each of our lives. Please share your answer to question 1 below. Try to limit your story to about a minute so we'll have plenty of time for the rest of the study.

1. Think of a season in your life when you felt that you were really growing spiritually. What were some of the ingredients that helped you grow?

2. It's important for every group to agree on a set of shared values. If your group doesn't already have an agreement (sometimes called a covenant), turn to page 69. Even if you've been together for some time and your values are clear, the Purpose-Driven Group Agreement can help your group achieve greater health and balance. We recommend that you especially consider rotating group leadership, setting up spiritual partners, and introducing purpose teams into the group. Simply go over the values and expectations listed in the agreement to be sure everyone in the group understands and accepts them. Make any necessary decisions about such issues as refreshments and child care.


The Bible describes the goal of our lives in various ways: to be transformed into Christ's likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18) or to become complete in Christ (Colossians 1:28).

If that's the goal, what's the process by which we get there? The writer to the Hebrews compares the Christian life to a race:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. -Hebrews 12:1-3

3. In this passage, what qualities do a race and the Christian life have in common?

4. Salvation is a free gift from God through Jesus Christ. You don't have to earn it; you just believe. Yet a race involves effort. How do you fit together these two truths-salvation as a gift and the Christian life as a race?

5. Greek athletes stripped down to nothing for a race so that nothing would hinder them as they ran. (Luckily, today we have spandex!) So when verse 1 says, "throw off everything," it means everything that could potentially hinder you. What are some of the sins that can entangle you and keep you from running the race of Christ well?

6. Even things that aren't sins can be hindrances in your race. Money, career goals, time commitments-anything can be a hindrance if you hold it more dearly than Jesus Christ. What is one thing that hinders your spiritual growth?

7. Why is fixing your eyes on Jesus (verse 2) so essential?

8. Jesus focused on "the joy set before him." What joy is set before you when you finish your race? (See, for example, Hebrews 12:22-24; Philippians 3:20-21; Isaiah 25:6-9.)

9. There are many spiritual practices that will help you stay focused and grow deeper in your walk with Jesus. Over the next five weeks we will review more fully each of the aspects below. Quickly pair up with someone (men with men, women with women) you'd enjoy connecting with, and answer the following question: Which one or two aspects listed below would you like to focus on in this season of your walk with Jesus? Why?

Prayer Personal time with God Bible study Accountability Surrendering to Journaling the Holy Spirit

We grow in our walk with God when we experience life together with another Christian friend or in a small group. For the next six weeks, would you be willing to connect briefly (in the group, by E-mail, or by telephone) to encourage another person's spiritual growth? Ask this person now (or during the upcoming week) if you can fill this role.


10. We're not meant to run the race alone. It's always more motivating to run with a pack of other runners. We need the support of fellow runners. You probably know someone who is struggling to run the Christian race alone. Pull an open chair into the circle of your group. This chair represents someone you could invite to join your group.

Who could that person be? Think about family members, friends, neighbors, parents of your kids' friends, church members, coworkers, and the persons who share your hobbies. Take a moment now to prayerfully list one or two names, and then share the names with your group.

_______________________ _______________________ NAME NAME

Commit to

• making the call this week. Why not?-over 50 percent of those invited to a small group say yes! You may even want to invite him or her to ride with you.

• calling your church office to get the names of new members, and inviting new members who live near you to visit your group.

• serving your group by praying for and welcoming new people to your group.


You're not running the race alone! You're surrounded by a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1)-the generations of faithful men and women who have gone before you. You also have fellow group members who want to support you.

11. On page 83 you'll find a list of brief passages for daily devotions -five per week for the six weeks of this study. If you've never spent daily time with God, this is an easy way to begin. Would you consider taking on this habit for the duration of this study? See page 86 for a sample journal page you can use as a guide for your daily devotions.

If you're already consistent in daily devotions, consider acquiring the habit of Scripture memory. Six memory verses are provided on page 82-one verse per week. Would you consider accepting the challenge to memorize one verse per week and hide God's Word in your heart? We urge you to pair up with another person for encouragement and accountability.

12. In order to allow more prayer time for everyone, quickly gather into small circles of three or four people. Allow everyone to answer this question: "How can we pray for you this week?" Share personal concerns, as well as some specific ways you would like God to help you throw off things that hinder you from running your race.

Take some time to pray for these requests in your small circles. Anyone who isn't used to praying aloud should feel free to offer prayers in silence. Or, if you're new to prayer and you're feeling brave, try praying just one sentence: "Thank you, God, for" Be sure to have one person write down your requests and share them later with the group or leaders.


Hebrews 12 encourages believers to endure hardships and keep running the Christian life. Runners would agree that a cheering crowd, the right equipment, and a clear goal help them press through the pain and cross the finish line.

Such a great cloud of witnesses. Competitors in a race often feel motivated by the presence of spectators. The writer here refers not just to spectators but to actual "witnesses" who attest to the validity of our race. In chapter 11, he lists many faithful men and women who lived and died in faith. He wants his readers to imagine generations of past runners cheering them on.

Perseverance. Endurance. The commitment to remain under some kind of pressure rather than try to escape it. In session 6 you'll look at James 1:3 and see that endurance produces proven character. Responding to difficulties with persistent faith, not scrambling to get out from under hardships, is what produces proven character.

The joy set before him. Jesus looked forward to the joy of returning to his Father and the joy of seeing us freed and restored to our Father. We endure the race because of the great reward that is ahead of us-the joy of the Father's embrace.

Fix our eyes. To look away from one thing and to concentrate on another. The idea is to look away from all other distractions and look solely at Jesus, the one who invented and perfected the race.

For Further Study on the topic of the Christian life as a race, see Philippians 3:12-14; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Galatians 5:7; Acts 20:24; 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

Weekly Memory Verse: Matthew 6:33

The Purpose-Driven Life Reading Plan: Day 22