Continued from previous posts: I call the third stage of spiritual growth "Service and Leadership." The first stage is "First Awakening," and the second, "Believing and Belonging." I've written about the first two in previous posts.

When you first awaken to God it's as if you've risen from a long night's sleep. Something has stirred you and you begin to seek God. If you move beyond this stage, you enter a community where you learn what it means to believe and belong.

You can get stuck in both stages--stuck and unable to move beyond awakening because your awareness of God can make you feel so terribly guilty and unworthy that you can't imagine God can love you. You can get stuck in the second stage if you become infatuated with doctrinal debates or worry that you can never know enough. But if you grow in a healthy way and move from awakening and into believing and belonging, you will eventually grow into a new season of service and leadership. During this season, you become highly involved in ministries of compassion or administration, evangelism or justice. You might serve on a committee, volunteer for the choir or as a Sunday School teacher, engage in a service or mission project, train as a minister, respond to a call for missionary service, or become an elder or deacon. You are, of course, still learning about the Christian faith, and may sense a real vibrancy to your growth.

To be continued . . .