Spiritual growth also happens best in relationship with others. The sage in Proverbs says, "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (27:17). There is value in building common relationships that focus on growing spiritually together.
One of the best tools for such relational spiritual growth is Life Transformation Groups (LTG). LTGs were pioneered by Neil Cole, a church planter, who saw discipleship and spiritual growth flourish when he used them in his church plants. I have written about and discussed LTGs elsewhere on my blog. This is a PDF that describes LTGs and includes a set of accountability questions.
A Life Transformation Group is a simple group that facilitates spiritual growth among a few people at a time by focusing on a weekly meeting that emphasizes scripture, prayer, accountability, evangelism, and reproducibility.
LTGs begin with 2 or 3 people of the same gender. The same gender is important; it helps create the context for accountability to occur. The size of the group is important--too many and it becomes a different thing (more like a small group). The size of the group is also important because it keeps things reproducible, which I'll touch on later.
LTGs focus around scripture and accountability. The core activity of the group, during the week, is reading a large block of scripture. Neil Cole advocates reading around 30 chapters each week. I have had success using that number, but also with as little as around 15 chapters each week. The key is to pick a number that challenges the group.
Accountability comes in during the group meeting when each member reports whether they finished the reading. If everyone did not finish, the whole group rereads the same block of scripture until everyone finishes in the same week. There is no pressure to finish; if someone doesn't, they just don't; the group proceeds with the idea that God has something else to teach them that week in the same scripture.
Despite the large volume of scripture that is read each week, the group meeting focuses more on a set of accountability questions that each member works through. Accountability is expressed through honest answers and encouragement to continue growing. Any time left over can be given over to discussion about the Bible reading. Here are some examples of accountability questions.
A final component of LTGs is prayer. This includes prayer for each other, but also prayer for those who are not yet believers. By praying for non-believers, we keep them and their spiritual needs on our minds. The idea is that these folks can be invited to and integrated into the LTG. This is where reproducibility comes in.
When the group reaches four consistent members, it can reproduce by hiving off into two groups. Again, this keeps things small and focused on accountability and reproduction. Since the group consists of simply reading scripture, discussing accountability questions, and prayer, it is easily led by anyone. There are no classes to attend, no books to master, no training to undergo--just general Christian discipleship.
LTGs are simple tools that facilitate spiritual growth. Let me know if you have any questions. Otherwise, pray about one or two others that you can invite to form a LTG with you...and get started!