I want to take a look at a few ministry maxims that tend to be more ministry myths over the next few weeks. What is a maxim? Maxim: a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule. Sometimes these statements can be treated as biblical by church leaders.
If you’ve been in a staff meeting at a church, you’ve heard the phrase “All healthy things grow”. This is typically used to motivate people in evangelism and outreach – numeric growth of the church. However, it simply isn’t true.
People don’t keep growing, but can be healthy. In the 4th grade I was one of the tallest kids in my class! However, I stayed at 5 feet 6 inches. It is true people can grown through weight gain, but that usually means they are unhealthy.
Plants don’t keep growing. It is freezing outside of my home right now. This is why there is a harvest season.
A better statement is that healthy things go through seasons. There is a time to plant seeds. There is a time that those seeds are watered and cared for so that they grow. There is a time to harvest the fruit. There is a winter time where things aren’t growing. God uses each time for His purpose in the life of the plant.
This lines up more with Scripture:
1 Corinthians 3:6-9 (ESV)
6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field,God’s building.
Churches go through seasons of extreme growth. These are exciting times when many people come to know the Lord. Churches also go through times where their focus is on planting seeds in their community. These are also wonderful times when relationships are being built and God’s word is being taught to many, however the response isn’t necessarily what you want. God uses this time as well. There are seasons of healing and reconciliation in churches where numeric growth isn’t great, but God is moving in dynamic ways. I’ve seen churches put their focus on numeric growth when they should have invested heavily in bringing healing to the body of Christ.
Now this isn’t to say we shouldn’t do everything possible to see people reached with the Gospel. We should be preaching the word and calling people to Jesus, but remember God gives the growth.
Which season are you in?