Saturday, May 26, 2007

He is Growing ...

Our youngest grandchild is here for a weekend visit, his parents came along as well. It has been a month since I have seen him and he has really grown during that time. Given that he is less than 3 months old it is expected that I would see noticeable growth in a month. Not just in his size, but he is so much more aware of his surroundings and responding to what he sees and hears. He is now really smiling and talking, albeit in his own language but he is intense when he is communicating with you. It is so much fun to see the changes and enjoy the growth.

That got me to thinking about growth in general. We expect nothing less than growth from a child and would be concerned if he was not growing. We would probably insist on taking him to a doctor and have him tested to see why he is not growing. So why do we accept it when we are no longer growing as christians, or in our relationships, or when a church is stagnant? I hear your reactions, "it is just not the same", "you can't compare a child to an adult, or to a church" or "you can't measure these other things". I respectfully and vehemently disagree with those reactions. I believe there are ways to tell if you are growing spiritually, there are tangible ways to measure if a church is growing numerically and spiritually and you know if your relationships are growing, stagnant or declining.

It is not for lack of ability to measure, I believe it is because we do not like the results of the measurements. But I am very bothered by the lack of concern about growing period. I am troubled by the fact that we can just shrug our collective shoulders and say it is no big deal. I am fearful that I may be doing the same thing personally.

I believe that I should be continually growing in own spiritual life, in my relationships and that the church I pastor should be growing. So what should I do?

Evaluate - do some inventory and comparison of myself and my church.
Be honest - don't just puff up your evaluation, but look at it honestly and openly.
Ask God to show you how you are doing - trust me, He will show you if ask.
Change areas that God shows you - don't ask and then sit still
Look beyond yourself - we generally staganate when we become only concerned with ourselves, we grow when we look to help and reach others.
Speak up - don't just sit there and mutter about the need for growth, speak up. There are probably others who just waiting for someone to show that they care.
Seek help - if you can't make the necessary changes yourself, or if you cannot honestly evaluate these areas ask someone else to do it for you. There are a lot of resources available for growth in any of the areas I have mentioned
Celebrate growth - be a cheerleader for growth. When you see someone growing, let them know that you have noticed and encourage them to keep growing.
Have fun - one of the best ways to grow is to enjoy life, enjoy your relationships, enjoy your church and growth will be so much easier.

Here's hoping if you see me in a month you will be able to tell that I am growing (not physically, I have enjoyed that one a little too much recently). Here's hoping that you will be growing as well. Here's hoping that our churches will be growing. Here's hoping that you will be growing in your relationships. Here's hoping that we will desire to grow and do what it takes to grow.

P.S. - My grandson is so much fun. I smile whenever I think of any of my grandchildren, so I am smiling a lot this weekend. Happy growing.


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