Healthy things grow. If conditions are right, and nothing is impeding development, life progresses.
Babies begin as a tiny fertilized egg that grows to 8 pounds at birth, then continues to progress as he or she ages. Humans do not just grow physically, though, we grow intellectually … throughout life we grow in understanding. We also grow relationally and emotionally as the web of friendships, family, and colleagues throughout life continue to build on one another. A healthy person will develop in each of these areas throughout their lives until they begin to die. Our bodies begin to deteriorate in our 40’s (reading glasses anyone)? Our intellect may slow as we age (now why did I come into the kitchen?) And our relationships may fade even before physical death (one of the sad realities of diseases like Alzheimer’s is the relational separation they create from people they knew well in the earlier days of their lives). But until death begins to creep in, life continues to develop.
This is also true of our spiritual lives. A healthy spiritual person grows. They grow in their understanding of who God is … so they trust Him more and more. They grow in their expressions of love to others … loving others as Jesus has loved them. This is also true in a church. A healthy church should be growing in our devotion to Christ … but also in our numbers. Jesus intends for the church to grow numerically. After all, “He desires none to perish but all to come to repentance (1 Timothy 2:3-7).”
What is amazing is that spiritual growth is connected not to THIS LIFE which is finite and will one day die … but it is actually connected to ETERNAL LIFE, which (by definition) never stops. The Christian will grow forever in our relationship with the Lord and celebration of His expanding Kingdom reign.
Last week at Wildwood we talked about one aspect of this growth … the growth of the church family as we submit to the Lord vertically and serve one another horizontally. This week, we will look at how a healthy church grows numerically, by serving as witnesses of Jesus in our town and around the world. We will talk about how at Wildwood we are For the Community and the Nations following Jesus together with us to the glory of God as we look at Acts 1:8. Hope you can make it … and bring friends!
NOTE: As you know, Wildwood has 3 Sunday services – 8:30, 9:45, and 11:00. If you were at Wildwood last Sunday and found it difficult to find a seat or a parking space, I would encourage you to come earlier in the day. While the 11:00 service was packed, good seats were available at the 9:45 and lots of seats and parking were available at 8:30. Come when you can, but just wanted you to know what last Sunday looked like across the morning as you consider which service to attend going forward.