Did you know that there is a movement dedicated to “zero growth” here on planet earth? Those involved in this movement are concerned about slowing the population growth so as to ease the increasing demand upon our earth’s resources.
There are also those who are concerned about a “zero growth” state existing in our nations economy by the year 2050. There are several websites dedicated to examining the extreme impact on our nation should we remain in a zero economic growth state for a prolonged period of time.
There are many other areas in which “zero growth” is of great concern to people, and yet within the body of Christ we seem to have adjusted pretty quickly to zero growth. We’ve adjusted both personally as well as corporately. In fact we’ve adjusted so well that those who are vocal advocates for mandated growth can seem a little out of sync with the mainstream.
Have you ever wondered what the Lord thinks the normative state of the church should be in reference to growth?
I don’t think you have to look very far into the scriptures to have an absolute understanding of what he expects of the church. There are dozens and dozens or perhaps even hundreds of examples of the Lord’s expectation that the church corporately as well as individually will be growing constantly.
Consider the parable of the talents in Matthew 25 where the master expects an increase in his investment or John 15:5 where we are to bear “much fruit”. Over and over in sections of scripture we see that we both individually and corporately are to be growing. The scriptures are full of stories using planting, pruning, tilling, cultivating, and reaping all of which infer moving forward in growth and an ever -increasing harvest. When did we become all right with zero growth?
I’ve heard people celebrate a lack of decline and the maintaining of their church’s relative size from year to year. When did just keeping people become our goal? That sounds remarkably like the servant who took the masters talent, buried it in the ground, then returned it to him just as he received it from him. That is not who we are called to be! We are called to grow, change, and become more for the Kingdom. We pray, fast, preach, work, give, sacrifice, forgive, and serve so that there will be an increase for the Kingdom! Our normative state is growth! Our master expects growth! As leaders we find spiritual, creative, and wise ways to remove the obstacles of growth and then we lead growth. Nobody has to lead decline or death, those happen all by themselves.
We are expected to grow!
I have asked the Lord to break my heart in any area personally or professionally where I am comfortable with zero growth. I want him to stretch my physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally so that I am growing in every area. I believe as I incorporate these into my own life they will affect the world around me.
I’m committed to grow! How about you?