One of the things I attempt to do in my membership class is have people read through the conversion stories in the book of Acts. Thirteen passages tell of someone asking to be saved, coming to saving faith in Jesus or telling their story of coming to Jesus and being saved. Each student is to go home and read each piece of scripture and list what the people were told to do or did as a response.
If a student were to do that, they would discover that the responses are not the same. Quite often, they even seem to offer completely different answers. The goal is not to pit one passage against another but to see them in harmony. There are basically five responses given throughout the New Testament but often not at the same time.
Why is this, you might ask? My answer is simple because the real question people are asking is, “What is MY next step in following Jesus?”
Everyone is in a different place on their journey with God. When you want to know the next step, the answer is custom-fitted to your situation. There is no cookie-cutter journey with God. We each take unique actions, and the biggest question is not, “Do I fit the pattern some theologian or preacher thinks should come next?” No, the most significant issue for you is “What is the next step YOU are to take on YOUR journey with God?”
The point of this exercise is to get people to ask the same question for themselves. If the early Church sought to meet people with a personalized gospel, I think the Church today should do the same. Spiritual growth is not taking a class or having a belief system without errors. It is taking the next step on your journey of faith as God is directing you.