One thing that is true about human nature is that unless we are prodded, challenged, or stimulated, we can settle into routines and patterns that do not encourage much growth. Do you agree with that statement?
Let me give some practical examples.
• In the world of fitness, it is widely understood that by changing up my exercise patterns and introducing some new disciplines into the workout routine, I am actually increasing the effectiveness of my workouts. Change, creativity, and variety all serves to push the body in different ways and increase positive results.
• In the world of relationships, pushing beyond one’s normal sphere to encounter people who may think differently, have a different orientation, can do much to expand one’s understanding of the world, self and even God. I found going cross culture for almost seven years in Jakarta did much to “disturb” my world for the better.
• In the world of academia, reading a cross section of authors on an issue can do wonders to broaden ones understanding on a particular subject. When it comes to reading God’s Word, I find disciplining myself to read the whole counsel of God, not just my favourite book or testament (for many that’s the New Testament) challenges my thinking, expands my theology and helps me appreciate the wonder of God’s work.
One of the issues we are discussing these days in various contexts (elders, staff, one-on-ones) is the issue of movement. How can we develop an environment that is conducive to spiritual growth? How can we best lead so that Bethel is the stimulus, the context of challenge and change for people on their spiritual journey? In one sense, as leaders we are environmentalists - we are responsible to create an environment where people will be challenged to grow. For example, we wouldn’t go up to an apple tree and say “Grow, produce apples!” However, we could nurture the root system so that apples would eventually appear.
We, as leaders, want to nurture the “root system” of Bethel so that growth occurs. Paul makes it very clear in 1 Corinthians that some plant and others water, but in the end it is God who makes things grow.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything,
but only God, who makes things grow.
1 Cor. 3:7
Our goal is not to create an environment where no growth is the accepted norm. All the various ministries of Bethel need to be, in some way, contributing to the positive change in people’s lives.
Genuine followers of Christ grow. While being anchored to the Rock our lives are to be engaged in the process of transformation. For the believer in Christ there is no standing Still. In this life, we will never finish the process of being changed by His grace, day by day.
Are you growing? Is Bethel helping you grow? I trust the answer to both those questions is YES!