by Erin Bird

Okay, okay… I admit the headline of this post is over-the-top.

Because in all honesty, following Jesus can’t be reduced to just some “four-step process” that you can master on your own. Following Jesus requires the work of the Holy Spirit to help us surrender on our part and to do the deep work of discipling on His part.

But a “pathway” helps create a framework from which we can understand how the Holy Spirit is calling us to follow Jesus.

This week, as we come to part three in our series on The Riverwood Way, we come to Riverwood’s “pathway” – Gather, Grow, Give, Go. Here’s how we say it “officially”:

Our path to helping people follow Jesus is simple: We invite people to gather together to worship Jesus, to grow spiritually through small groups and personal spiritual disciplines, to give of their FIST (finances, influence, skills, and time) for the sake of Jesus’ Kingdom, and to go into their neighborhoods, workplaces, gyms, other communities, and the ends of the earth with the amazing news of the gospel.

Let’s break that down…

And Now, a Riverwood Infomercial!

At Riverwood, the first “step” we want you to take is to Gather with other Jesus-followers to worship Jesus. There is something powerful when God’s people gather for corporate worship and learning.

But just gathering isn’t enough! Rather, we believe it’s just beginning! Jesus spoke to gathering crowds, but He also spent time helping a smaller group of guys (known as His disciples) go deeper in their understanding of their relationship with the Father. In other words, He helped them Grow.

That’s what we want to do at Riverwood – help you Grow spiritually. We encourage you to take a two-handed approach to spiritual growth – individually and in relationships.

[list type= extra=]
[list_item]Individually, we encourage you to develop personal spiritual disciples like reading the Scripture, praying, and such to help you seek after God.[/list_item]
[list_item]But we also encourage you to get in a Growth Group where God can use relationships to help you go deeper in your faith.[/list_item]

But even THAT is not enough! We also want to see you Give your FIST – your Finances, Influence, Skills, and Time. When you serve at the Food Bank, you are giving your time. When you participate with Riverwood in our Christmas Global Impact Gift, you are giving financially. When you do Big Brothers Big Sisters or shovel your neighbor’s drive, you are giving your influence and energy.

But wait, there’s more! We also want to see you Go like Jesus. If Jesus could leave behind His throne in heaven to come to earth to take on human flesh and live incarnationally among mankind,(a person or thing regarded as embodying or exhibiting qualities of Jesus) then we can live “incarnationally” among our neighbors, club members, co-workers, and family. We can be “Jesus with skin on” to those around us, by loving them the way He would love them.

Again, this “Gather, Grow, Give, Go,” is merely a framework to help you seek after God as He molds and shapes you into the image of Jesus. You are wired differently than others, so your spiritual growth will probably look a bit different than others. But the point is that we are following Jesus – and Gather, Grow, Give, Go is a super simple, easy to remember “pathway” that can helps us get on our way to following in the footsteps of our Messiah.