Whether a film is good or bad, one of the best parts of the whole experience is when you get to talk about it with your friends. Do you think we could be in the Matrix right now? I think if Captain America and Iron Man had just used their words they could have resolved the whole thing without all the fighting.  The Princess Leia CGI looked great in Rogue One! Talking about a movie after you’ve seen it gives you the chance to work through your thoughts and make a decision about what you really think.

The same principle is true in our spiritual lives. We all need the opportunity to work through what God is speaking to us in order to make a decision about what we really think. We can see this played out in the lives of Jesus and his disciples. At the beginning of Matthew 13 we find Jesus at the edge of a lake teaching a crowd of people so large that he had to get into a boat to avoid getting pushed in.

Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore.

Matthew 13:1-2

But it’s what comes after his day of teaching that is instructive…

Then, leaving the crowds outside, Jesus went into the house. His disciples said, “Please explain to us the story of the weeds in the field.”

Matthew 13:36

After hearing Jesus teach all day the disciples went with him into a quiet house to talk about what they had heard. They asked questions. They probed and examined what they had heard in order to make sense of it, to make a decision about what they really thought. And this all happened when Jesus and his disciples stepped away from the crowds and settled into a living room.

You were never meant to grow spiritually by just listening to a sermon on Sunday. The process of spiritual growth happens when you connect with a group of people and talk about what you have heard; when you question it, debate it, and talk it out. The crowds heard the same teaching the disciples did. What allowed the disciples to really grow was the opportunity to break off with their close knit group to interpret and apply what they heard.

Being in the crowd is a great way to be exposed to the teaching of Jesus, but breaking off into a small group is the best way to internalize it and apply it. And that’s where the power of spiritual growth really happens.