Ever taken a personality assessment? career assessment?
spiritual gifts inventory? Assessments are great ways to help define
reality, celebrate progress, and develop growth plans. So, why not
assess our spiritual condition and develop a plan for growth?
The tool you hold in your hands is our attempt to assist in examining
our lives under the spotlight of what God has revealed as “core”
elements for spiritual formation. As a group, we spent 10 months
reading, praying, dialoging, & wrestling with what the Bible reveals
as the central components in seeing more of Christ’s life formed into
more of our lives. The result was 10 elements in each of three
categories (core beliefs, core practices, core virtues.) The word
“core” is important as we are in no way attempting to communicate
an exhaustive list of what is involved in seeing a person grow in full
devotion to Jesus. However, we do believe that maturity in these 30
areas is key to spiritual growth, regardless of age or background.
It is our prayer that this tool, in the hands of the Spirit, would yield
transformation into Christlikeness. Imagine hundreds of people
putting their roots down deep into these 30 elements, imagine the
impact on families, our church, communities, nations - imagine the
glory our great God would receive from such a journey...imagine.
Discipleship Task Team
Jayne Bak, Hosea Baxter, Bob Brow,
Richie Crain, Dave Humphries, Paul Keller,
Jeff Lambert, Tom Langebartels, Dave Mays,
Petula Myers, Darren Nyce, Eric Simpson, Stephen Smith,
Brad Spencer, Tim Swarens, Mike Vanderipe
Our response to what God has initiated…
Love God & Love People
The core beliefs of the Christian faith are revealed to us in God’s word. We devote ourselves to understanding doctrine so that
our lives are anchored by the truths of God, keeping the winds of false teaching and the waves of worldly philosophies from
diverting us from the course that God has set.
God the Father
God the Son (Jesus Christ)
God the Holy Spirit
Evil & Suffering
The Human Condition (the problem)
Salvation (the solution)
The Christian Identity
Christian practices are tools used to develop inward change and empower the Christian to live as Jesus taught and modeled.
These practices flow out of a heart-felt response to all that God has done.
In the Christian life, Core Virtues are the critical character qualities contained in Faith, Hope and most importantly, Love of God
and others. It is through the development and strengthening of the Core Virtues that we are able to achieve man’s greatest
purpose, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.
The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
God the Father
The first person of the Trinity who is directing and sending the Son (Jesus
Christ) and the Holy Spirit to accomplish His purposes
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not
perish but have eternal life
God exists eternally as three distinct persons yet one God (the Trinity)
God is the creator and sustainer of the universe
God possesses attributes that He chooses to share with His creation, such as love, joy,
knowledge, truthfulness, mercy, holiness, and peace.
God possesses attributes that He does not share with His creation, such as self-sufficiency,
sovereignty, omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, and immutability (unchanging).
Because God is love, He pursues a relationship with all people that is ultimately demonstrated
in the sending of His Son
God the Son
The second person of the Trinity who is the image of the invisible God
revealed as the central figure in the redemption of mankind
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through
Jesus is both fully God and fully man.
Jesus was born of a virgin, and was therefore without a sin nature.
Jesus died as a perfect sacrifice for the sin of mankind.
Jesus bodily rose from the dead, overcoming the power of sin and death.
Jesus’ life has made the only way possible to have a right relationship with God.
God the Spirit
The third person of the Trinity who manifests the active presence of God in
the life of a Christian and throughout the world
But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will
not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guiltin
regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.
The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin
The Holy Spirit indwells a Christian at the time of salvation.
The Holy Spirit leads the Christian into truth and guides them on the path God has prepared
The Holy Spirit intercedes for the Christian in prayer.
The Holy Spirit empowers the Christian for service by administering spiritual gifts.
Core Beliefs (continued)
The Bible God’s written word to humanity revealing His plan for all creation
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in
righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work
The Bible is the perfect, inspired Word of God
The Bible is complete in fulfilling its purpose
The Bible is authoritative
The Bible is useful and necessary for spiritual growth
The Bible is inexhaustible (continually providing new understanding of God and His purposes)
The worldwide community of Christians commisioned to accomplish God’s
purposes in all the earth
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to
the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he
accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord
The core purposes of the church are to love God, serve His kingdom, reach the unchurched,
care for one another, and develop fully devoted followers of Christ.
The church is a body of people, rather than buildings, with Christ at its head.
Being entrusted with the gospel, the church is the only hope of the world.
The church consists of all Christians, from all nations, for all time.
The church is called to unity in Christ across racial, cultural, gender, socio-economic, and
Evil and Suffering The pain and distress of life in a fallen world
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who
subjected it, in hope thatthe creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought
into the glorious freedom of the children of God
God created the world without pain and suffering
Satan is a fallen angel who led other angels, now called demons, in a revolt against God
Suffering is a consequence of living in a fallen world, of the acts of Satan and his demonic
realm, and of the sins of humanity; affecting both the Christian and non-Christian
Suffering can draw us into a closer dependence upon God and understanding of His purposes
Death holds an end to all suffering for the Christian and a beginning to eternal suffering for
Core Beliefs (continued)
The Human Condition
Mankind is marked by God, marred by sin, and without hope apart from
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All
have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even
Human Beings are created male and female and for the purpose of glorifying God.
Human Beings are created in God’s image from a moral, mental, spiritual, and relational
Human Beings are marred by sin, making it impossible to live life in line with the will of God.
Because of the sin of Adam, all human beings are conceived with a sin nature.
Apart from Christ, human beings are separated from God and without hope.
(The Solution) The restoration into a right relationship with God through faith in Christ
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of
God – not by works, so that no one can boast
Salvation is a free gift, based on what God has done, not based on any personal
Salvation is only available through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Salvation occurs when a person acknowledges their sinfulness and entrusts their life to the
person and work of Jesus Christ.
Salvation is the moment at which a person moves from spiritual death to spiritual life.
Salvation is the point of time at which we are set apart to personally participate in the
advancement of God’s kingdom
The Christian Identity Seeing ourselves as God sees us in Christ
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
God views the Christian as pure and unstained, through the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
God has forgiven the Christian of all sins: past, present, and future.
The Christian is adopted into God’s family and assured of God’s never ending presence in
The Christian’s true worth is determined by God, not by self or others.
The Christian’s position before God is not altered by the highs and lows of their feelings and
Core Beliefs (continued)
The life and events yet to come – for Christians, non-Christians, and all
Behold, I (Jesus) am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what
he has done.
At a time known only by God, there will be a sudden, personal, bodily visible return of Jesus
All Christians, living and dead, will be gathered together with Christ to live with Him forever
There will be an unprecedented period of suffering on the earth (the great tribulation).
Everyone will face God’s judgment: Christians will be judged righteous and sent to heaven,
non-Christians will be judged guilty and sent to hell.
The church will be victorious and will reign with Christ forever in the new heaven and new
Bible Immersion Spending time daily reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
I read God's Word daily.
I consistently spend time studying Scripture asking God for wisdom and understanding.
I find myself thinking of God's Word, either in specific verses or themes, throughout the day.
I can recall Scripture in response to situations throughout my day.
I modify my day and apply what I just learned in the Bible.
Communicating with God by listening to Him, offering praise, confessing sin,
and making petitions
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray. In the morning, O Lord, you hear
my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
I make time devoted specifically to prayer every day.
I go throughout my day in an attitude of prayer, acknowledging God's presence in my life.
I use part of my prayer time to quiet my heart to listen to what God is telling me
I seek God’s guidance in every situation before taking action on my own.
I am able to concentrate on my conversation with God without allowing unrelated thoughts to
Service Sacrificial giving of time and talent to God and others
1 Peter 4:10
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s
grace in its various forms.
I volunteer to help with ministries at Eagle Church.
I set aside my priorities to help meet the pressing needs of family, friends, neighbors, and
I help meet the physical and spiritual needs of the poor
When I serve, my heart attitude is focused on giving glory to God
I am intentionally involved in God’s global work (praying, giving, going)
Using one’s life to express the love of Christ and profess the truth of the
Gospel to all humanity
2 Corinthians 5:20
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We
implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
I pray for and seek out opportunities to share my faith
I purposefully seek relationships with nonbelievers
I seek to understand cultural spiritual beliefs and how the gospel relates
I know how to share my faith with others
When I am sharing my faith, I do so with gentleness and respect
Core Practices (continued)
Intentionally, honestly, and regularly evaluating my thoughts and actions
under the guidance of the Holy Spirit
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any
offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
I examine my actions, thoughts, and motives regularly
I confess sin as soon as I am aware of it
I regularly seek time away from distractions where I can have an attitude of solitude and
silence before God and listen to His voice
I ask people who know me well to honestly evaluate my words and actions
I seek to redeem the little snatches of time in my day by seeing God, listening to Him, and
speaking words that are few but full
Engaging with other Christians in relationships of mutual accountability,
care, and encouragement
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one
another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
I attend and participate in a cell group.
I befriend and mentor other Christians, particularly new believers, in hopes of helping them
grow in their relationship with Christ.
I have developed relationships of depth with people who hold me accountable for my actions
I seek to preserve unity in the body of Christ
I put myself in situations where new or existing friendships can be developed
Sacraments To participate in the symbolic actions of baptism and communion
1 Corinthians 11:26
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
I understand the symbolism of baptism.
I believe baptism is a necessary, public response to placing my faith in Christ.
I have been baptized at an age at which I could fully understand why I was taking part in this
activity and willingly participated.
I understand the symbolism of communion (Lord’s Supper).
When I participate in communion, I consciously remember Christ’s sacrifice and engage in
Core Practices (continued)
Managing one’s time, money, abilities and spiritual gifts that God has given
in a way that honors Him
1 Chronicles 29:14
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?
Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.
I give with a joyful attitude
I do not seek recognition or personal glory for my efforts
The activities of my life are determined by God’s agenda
My giving to Eagle Church is a priority and my heart is open to God’s leading about giving to
other Christian causes
I seek to understand my spiritual gifts and to use them to build Christ’s Kingdom
Corporate Worship Gathering together as a church body to express love for God
Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.
I participate weekly in a public worship gathering of believers
When I worship, I remember what God has done for others and me
When I worship, I sense the holiness and majesty of God
I am actively engaged in every part of the worship service
I prepare my heart throughout the week to meet with God in the worship service
Regularly ceasing from normal work and activity for the renewal of mind,
body, and soul
There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also
rests from his own work, just as God did from His.
I set aside a weekly Sabbath day.
I use my Sabbath day to deepen my relationship with God and others.
I properly plan the rest of my week to make the Sabbath possible and effective
I find myself rested and energized on a consistent basis
I understand what God’s Word teaches regarding the Sabbath
Purity Having integrity and righteousness of thought and being
1 John 3:3
Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
I choose to fill my mind with good, uplifting and pure thoughts
My circumstances do not affect my ability to respond correctly
I honor God in the pureness of my thought life
I am not sexually immoral
I examine myself and confess sin on a regular basis
Humility Setting aside personal gain and to consider others’ interests first
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than
yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of
I first consider the welfare of others.
My words are not boastful.
I willingly serve others.
I always acknowledge/share the credit when others have contributed to an accomplishment.
I do my part to reconcile relationships regardless of fault.
Joy Having an irrepressible hope and gladness in knowing Christ as my Savior
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in
I enjoy life.
My circumstances do not affect my ability to have a positive outlook.
I celebrate God’s work in my life.
I have a cheerful disposition and am able to have fun.
My joy in Christ uplifts and inspires others.
Peace Being content and free of anxiety in all circumstances
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your
hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
I am content with my life and myself.
My circumstances do not affect my ability to rest in my salvation.
I accept my life as a gift from God.
I choose to leave my fears and anxieties with God.
My security is not found in the things of this world (family, friends, career, and material
possessions), but in Christ.
Core Virtues (continued)
Goodness Having integrity and righteousness of word and action
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit
of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.).
My actions are consistent with my goals.
My life is free from patterns of sin.
I do and say the right thing even when I am afraid of the outcome.
I am truthful and honest in every situation.
My words do not cause another person to stumble.
Gentleness Being thoughtful, moderate and calm in dealing with other people
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
My actions are easy to receive and not over-bearing.
My circumstances do not affect my ability to respond softly.
My “talk” is characterized by soothing, encouraging words.
I have a calm demeanor when confronting others.
How I say or do something is as important as what I do or say.
Kindness Treating others with mercy and grace
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
I give generously of my time and resources without expecting anything in return.
I speak and hear the truth in love.
I choose to forgive someone when they have wronged me.
I help those in need.
I speak to others in an uplifting way and show empathy to those who are suffering.
Self-Control Living a balanced, temperate life free from patterns of sin
It teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and
Godly lives in this present age.
I choose not to act on personal temptations.
I restrict my actions to God-honoring behavior.
I am not easily swayed by others to partake in sinful activities and consider whether my
actions will cause others to stumble.
I do not over-react when I encounter problems in life.
My life is free from addictions.
Core Virtues (continued)
Patience Waiting confidently with the expectation of accepting the outcome
Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its
valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains..
I do not become angry if made to wait.
I rest in God’s timing in all circumstances.
I do not become exasperated with others when they do not do things the way I think they
should be done.
I do not obsess about problems.
I choose not to allow my inner struggles to cause me to be outwardly anxious.
Faithfulness Remaining dedicated in all circumstances to one’s commitments
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to
test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will
give you the crown of life.
My actions consistently hold firm to the hope I have in Christ.
I am trustworthy in even seemingly small matters.
I stick with God when I run into hardships.
I follow through on all my promises.
I encourage others by my example of making good decisions in my commitments.
A Closing Word…
Many thanks to Randy Frazee and Pantego Bible Church, God used
their journey in community and spiritual formation to plant the seeds for
this tool and framework.
To the Discipleship Task Team, how many times did we stop during
those early Saturday mornings, lay our pencils down, and bow in
worship and prayer...saying together, “O Lord, there is none like You!.”
Thank you for your dedication, sacrifice, and devotion. You are storing
up crowns that you’ll toss at the Savior’s feet one day. I’m grateful and
humbled to be able to serve with such God-centered people. The
process we walked through together so far surpassed all that I
envisioned it being (in a good way.) If the Lord sees fit to take this
end-product and surpass the beauty of the process, then all glory be to
the One who makes spiritual formation possible.
Pastor Eric Simpson
Discipleship & Teaching