The Difference Between Self-Help And Growing Up

In this space, I have intentionally tried to use less religious words to help communicate what we are trying to accomplish in our spiritual life. I have avoided using phrases such as “spiritual formation” and “discipleship” because I fear that these terms have become lost in church-speak and hold little meaning. Or they have been treated as add-ons within churches and most church members just ignore them like they might just ignore the children’s ministry or the homeless ministry or the singles ministry.

Instead, I use some form of Grow Up or Growing Up to express a movement towards Christian maturity. In my attempt to make things more understandable, I hope that I haven’t given you the impression that what we are doing here is just some kind of glorified self-help agenda. Growing Up is so much more than self improvement.

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One of our readings in the Apprentice Experience training comes from Scot McKnight, a professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary. McKnight, in a chapter called “A Community Called Atonement,” discusses what it means to be made in the image of God. Using the phrase Eikons to represent those made in the image of God, McKnight states, “the goal (of atonement) is for our sinful selves to be set free to be new creations in true divine and human Koinonia.” He later states that “Eikons are made for union with God, communion with others, love of self, and care for the world.”

In other words, God’s plan involves a restoration of his created beings, his Eikons, to be new creations so we can be unified with Him and bonded to each other. This is done through the sending of the perfect Eikon, Jesus.

Spiritual formation, discipleship, Growing Up, maturity are all words used to describe God’s ongoing restoration process that starts with a commitment to Christ but ends with a transformed person in every way.

Don’t let my humble attempts at communication keep you from seeing the seriousness of this transformation process.


I am learning and growing through this training so that I can help you reach your faith goals and achieve your own maturity in Christ. But I can’t help you unless I have the resources to finish the Apprentice Experience training. Donate now and help me finish the program and continue helping others grow to fullness in Christ.

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