growing-with-jesusIn 2010 Crossroads embarked on a process called Natural Church Development (NCD). The goal of NCD is to foster a deeper and more genuine communion with God and partnership with him in his restorative mission. NCD helps churches identify their strengths and weaknesses in areas such as Inspiring Worship, Passionate Spirituality, Gift Based Ministry, Empowering Leadership, and Effective Structures.

At Crossroads, this process began with us taking a survey that identified the need for improvement in Inspiring Worship. For the first phase, the NCD Church Health Team focused on worship, sermons, and music. It was a blessing to see how our second survey at Crossroads served as such a helpful tool for as we sought to grow in the area of Inspiring Worship. Phase two of our NCD survey identified Passionate Spirituality as our next area in need of growth. The Crossroads NCD Church Health Team for Passionate Spirituality worked hard to define and explore the various components of Passionate Spirituality (as delineated by NCD) – experiencing God, passion for church, passion for devotions, and spiritual interconnectedness – and how those components relate to each other. The hardest challenge for the Church Health Team was to identify ways to promote growth in this area. One of the team’s conclusions was that a valuable step could be to help individual members of the Crossroads community identify their own strengths and weaknesses through spiritual practices. More on that later.

For now, the NCD Church Health Team encourages you begin by taking the following passionate spirituality self-assessment, identifying one area of strength and one area of weakness. The team’s goal is to equip members of the Crossroads community with individually applicable resources, such as classes, booklets, online tools, and one another’s gifts, to nourish and encourage individual growth.

Please read the questions below, fill out the assessment, and begin this journey with us toward developing spiritual practices that are rooted in and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Sincerely,
The NCD Church Health Team

Q. What is “Passionate Spirituality”?
A. Passion is another word for love, desire, or longing. We were created to love and have been redeemed to love (see Matthew 22:36-40). “Spirituality” may be better written as “Spirit-uality.” That is because it refers to a life dominated by the Spirit of God. When we were baptized and trusted in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, we were united to Christ by the Spirit of God. From that point on, all of life lived in union with Christ may properly be referred to as Spirit-uality. The Spirit has come to direct us into the fullness of what it means to be human in the world, that is, to bear God’s image for God’s Kingdom (see Genesis 1:27 and 2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

Q. How do Spirit-ual practices foster a passionate Spirit-uality?
TrellisA. Practices (i.e., ways of living life) lead to habits. Habits are those practices that have been so embodied by us that they have become second nature. Habits are then that sturdy (or un-sturdy) structure upon which life thrives (or does not thrive). Our Spirit-ual habits will guide us into an ever-increasing passion for life lived in communion with God for the sake of his Kingdom.
Our habits form the structure for our lives. Habits are to our Christian lives what trellises are for plants. They provide good (or bad) structures for healthy growth. Of course, the plants will not grow at all if not rooted in healthy soil. In the same way, it is not our habits that foster growth but our being rooted in union with the resurrected Savior.

Q. How do I know what habits to develop so I become more passionately Spirit-ual?
A. We designed the following self-assessment questions to help you determine where you have a passion for God as well as help you discern how you can further stoke that passion into a roaring flame, giving warmth to others.
Therefore, it is our recommendation that you commit to two new practices. One should be a practice that you find naturally appealing, and the other, one where you find you are quite weak. In this way, you should find that you are both encouraged and challenged in your efforts.
Over time, the practices you choose will become habits. At that point, you will want to focus on other areas for growth. At times, you may need to go back and revise which practices you committed to. Maybe your commitment was too easy, or perhaps it was too challenging.

Q. What Spirit-ual practices are being suggested in the self-assessment and why?
A. The Spirit is in the business of restoring all of us as humans. Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). God is not simply interested in renewing one part of you, like your mind or your soul, but he is interested in all of you, including your emotions and body. More than that, the Spirit is moving to restore the systems we are a part of – even restoring all of the cosmos in and for Christ (Colossians 1:18-20).
Therefore we could include thousands of practices that would further passionate Spirit-uality. For this assessment, we have included practices typically referred to as “means of grace.” These are praying, reading and applying the Word of God, and embracing the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (see Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 88). In addition, we have included several other categories intended to help you be sanctified by the Spirit in the comprehensiveness of life. There are four main categories: prayer, citizenship, work, and rest. Under each of those four categories, several practices are suggested.

Prayer
1. Forgiveness
2. Scripture and Study
3. The Daily Office
4. Singing

Citizenship
5. Church Membership
6. Householding
7. Government

Work/Activity
8. Vocation
9. Care for the

Physical Body
10. Evangelism Rest
11. Sabbath
12. Simplicity
10. Play and Recreation

Q. Is our commitment to spiritual practices a form of unhealthy “moralism” or “legalism”?
A. It depends. If you practice these things in order to make God love you, then the answer is “yes.” If you do these things to make up for bad things you have done, then the answer is “yes.” If you practice these things to stand above others in pride, then the answer is “yes.”
But if you practice these things out of a deep realization of the Father’s loving adoption of you into his family, it is not moralism. If you practice these things out of a true grasp that all of your sins are already dealt with through Jesus’ death, it is not legalism. If you practice these things with the sense that the Spirit of the risen Christ is where all true spirituality springs from, it is not moralism.

Q. What next?
A. The NCD Church Health Team agreed the best path forward was to complete a Spiritual Self-Assessment. The following self-assessment questions are meant to guide you towards the two practices you should focus on.

1) Begin by praying that the Spirit would guide you to see one area where you have a natural thirst for more and one area in which you are not quite as interested.
2) Throw all caution to the wind and answer the questions with reckless honesty. No one will see your answers except you.
As you answer, you will need to keep a score. Each category’s score will serve to help gauge what areas to work on. The goal is to choose two areas. It is in those two areas that you will commit to two new practices.
For example, imagine if Joan Rivers scored weak in Simplicity and somewhat weak (but interested) in Singing. After some prayer and careful thought, Joan chose one new practice in the practice of Simplicity and one new practice in the area of Singing. Her practice for Simplicity was to cut back on time watching TV during the week. Her practice for Singing was to begin writing a new song to God every three months.
3) Finally, your practices, becoming habits, will serve to further your passionate Spirit-uality as they move you toward God, his people, and his mission.
4) The NCD team will be providing resources at future gatherings for you to be able to develop your two specific practices.

PRAYER

Forgiveness (Luke 11:4; James 5:16)
Do you have an acute sense of God’s forgiveness of all your sins?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you use any tools to help you reflect on sin in your life (e.g., the Ten Commandments, Westminster Confession and Catechisms)?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you daily confess sin to God through prayer, outside of the Sunday service?
No (0) ____ Yes (1) ____
Do you have a friend that you can confess your sins to?
No (0) ____ Yes (1) ____
Do you find yourself holding grudges?
Yes (0) ____ No (1) ____
Total: ______

Scripture and Study (Psalm 119; James 1:21-25)
Does God’s Word, the Bible, have ultimate authority in your life?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you have more than 75% of the Bible read?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
How many days a week do you read the Bible?
0 – 3 (0) ____ 4 or more (1) ____
Do you have a grasp of the overall storyline of the Bible?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
How many Christian books do you read in a year (e.g., biographies, theology, commentaries)?
0 – 1 (0) ____ 2 or more (1) ____
Total: ______

The Daily Office (Psalm 37:7; Psalm 119:164; Mark 1:35-39)
“The term Daily Office…differs from what we label today as quiet time or devotions… The root of the Daily Office is not so much a turning to God to get something but to be with Someone [God]… The stopping for the Daily Office to be with God is the key to creating a continual and easy familiarity with God’s presence the rest of the day.” – Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.
Are you excited by the prospect of having a healthy prayer life?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Would an outside observer say you have a healthy prayer life?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
How many days a week do you pray outside of Sunday worship?
0 – 3 (0) ____ 4 – 7 (1) ____
How many times a day to you usually take to just be quiet in the presence of God?
0 – 1 (0) ____ 2 or more (1) ____
Do you have a sense of God’s presence throughout the day?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Total: ______

Singing (The Psalms; Colossians 3:16-17)
Would you say singing is an important component of discipleship?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you sing during gathered worship with others?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you sing to God or do you “just go through the motions”?
To God (1) ____ Just go through the motions (0) ____
How often do you sing to God besides Sundays?
0 – 1 (0) ____ 2 or more (1) ____
Does singing help you to care more about God?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Total: ______

CITIZENSHIP

Church Membership (Hebrews 10:24-25)
How often do you attend public worship?
Every week (1) ____ Sometimes (0) ____
How often do you usually celebrate the sacrament of communion?
Two times a month (1) ____ Sometimes (0) ____
Do you have a strong grasp on the benefits of celebrating at the Lord’s Table?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you prepare for Sunday worship during the week?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
How many close friendships are you are developing with other Christians at Crossroads?
0 close friendships (0) ____
1 or more close friendships (1) ____
Total: ______

Householding (Ephesians 5:21 – 6:9)
Do you have a household budget?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Would a stranger visiting with your family say that you are close?
Yes (1) ____ No (2) ____
Would you say your weekly schedule is bursting at the seams?
Yes (0) ____ No (1) ____
Do you welcome others over to your home?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Are you clear with family members regarding your expectations of them?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Total: ______

Government (Romans 13:1-7)
What level of importance do you place on voting?
High (1) ____ Low (0) ____
When you vote do you investigate the people and issues you will be voting for or against?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you have any issues that you feel strongly enough about to intentionally involve yourself in advocating for them?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Would you volunteer for a local government or community office?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you pay all you owe on your taxes?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Total: ______
WORK/ACTIVITY

Vocation (Genesis 1:27-28; Colossians 3:23-24)
Do you feel strongly that your weekly work is important to the kingdom of God?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
How often do you pray that God will use your weekly work for his kingdom purposes?
Often (1) ____ Not often (0) ____
How often do you apply what you learn on Sunday to your vocation?
Often (1) ____ Not often (0) ____
Do you discuss your work with other Christians who are engaged in similar enterprises?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Are you passionate about your job?
No (0) ____ Yes (1) ____
Total: ______

Care for the Physical Body (Genesis 1-2; Romans 12:1-2)
Do you think that it is important to God that you care for your body?
No (0) ____ Yes (1) ____
How often do you intentionally exercise a week?
0 – 1 (0) ____ 2 or more (1) ____
Do you get adequate rest and sleep?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Is your diet imbalanced?
Yes (0) ____ No (1) ____
Do you hate your body?
Yes (0) ____ No (1) ____
Total: ______

Evangelism (Psalm 105:1)
Do you have a more than causal relationship with a non-Christian?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
How many times a week do you pray for a non-Christian?
0 – 1 (0) ____ 2 or more (1) ____
Have you ever been trained in how to share a simple message with a non-believer?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
How excited are you by the prospect of leading someone to trust Jesus Christ?
Not much (0) ____ Very (1) ____
Do you look for opportunities to make your relationship with Christ and his Church known?
No (0) ____ Yes (1) ____
Total: ______

REST

Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 2:27-28; Romans 14:5-9)
Do you take a day off every week to stop, rest from normal labors, enjoy creation, and delight in God?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Are you excited by having a whole day to give more attention to God?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Has your relationship with God led to more exhaustion or restoration?
Exhausting (0) ____ Restorative (1) ____
Is the Sabbath a joy for you?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Have you regularly practiced the Sabbath before?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Total: ____

Simplicity (Psalm 73:25-26; Luke 12:15; 1 John 2:16-17)
Are you more excited at the thought of a brand new 2015 automobile or of a richer communion with God?
New Automobile (0) ____
Richer Relationship with God (1) ____
Would you have a hard time parting with something you value if it got in the way of your (or someone else’s) relationship with God?
Yes (0) ____ No (1) ____
Would you rather worship at church or shop at the mall?
Church (1) ____ Mall (0) ____
If the Apostle Matthew looked at your checkbook would he say you were a generous person?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you find deep delight in giving gifts?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____

Play and Recreation (Psalm 104:14-15; Ecclesiastes 3:4; Song of Solomon)
Do you have any hobbies or extra-curricular activities?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
How often do you do things that bring you deep joy with God or others?
Often (1) ____ Not much (0) ____
Would you rather have a great meal with friends or catch up on email?
Friends (1) ____ Email (0) ____
Do you have a deep-belly laugh twice a week?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Do you think God loves it when we enjoy sex?
Yes (1) ____ No (0) ____
Total: ______

GRADING SCALE
4 – 5 Thank God for what he is already doing in your life
2 – 3 Room for Improvement
0 – 1 Opportunity for Significant Growth

Prayer
1. Forgiveness 1 2 3 4 5
2. Scripture and Study 1 2 3 4 5
3. The Daily Office 1 2 3 4 5
4. Singing 1 2 3 4 5

Citizenship
5. Church Membership 1 2 3 4 5
6. Householding 1 2 3 4 5
7. Government 1 2 3 4 5

Work/Activity
8. Vocation 1 2 3 4 5
9. Care for the 1 2 3 4 5
Physical Body 1 2 3 4 5
10. Evangelism 1 2 3 4 5

Rest
11. Sabbath 1 2 3 4 5
12. Simplicity 1 2 3 4 5
13. Play and Recreation 1 2 3 4 5