It would be the desire of every one of us to thrive in life. It would be the desire if any pastor to see the members if their church thriving.
To thrive is to do life well. Not that life is well all of the time, but that our navigation of life is done well. So therefore, it is possible to thrive in adversity as much as in times of ease.
As a community of believers there are 4 active things we can do to help us thrive in church life.
To connect is to engage. To engage is to plug into that which has life, health and future in it. Connecting with God and His Word through connecting with Church and His people is Godly vitality to us. To connect to a weekend service every week, to engage in a connect group and church community of youth, young adults, a community of men or women. All these connections are designed to build our relationships with God and each other.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Psalm 92:12-15
This Psalm is not suggesting casual participation but frequent connection and engagement, with God and with Church. Put your heart into it!
Solomon in his ageless Proverbs says a wise man embraces wisdom like a sister and insight like a loved member of the family. Think of a loved family member or a dear friend. Now think of learning, insight, acquiring wisdom and equate the same emotion with it. Thats how fondly and diligently we should take our growth as a follower of Jesus.
Taking steps to grow like getting baptised, attending courses that help us as new believers, maturing believers and as leaders, making a decision to be part of a prayer meeting to grow in how you express yourself as a believer are all ways we can apply ourselves to the process of growth.
We should never stop looking for ways to grow, and engage with the things that accelerate our growth.
Talking about accelerating our growth, I have never seen anything that compares with the actions of serving that accelerates our discipleship quicker. When we serve we learn that life is not so much about ourselves its about others. When we serve we tap into the calling on our lives to be a blessing. When we serve we take on the nature of Jesus. When we serve we work through our Christianity ‘on the road’ where we have to show ourselves responsible, keep commitments, learn to overlook those who offend us or let us down. This is our discipleship in action and in formation all at the same time.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24,25
These words were spoken by the very same person who said, “I did not come to be served but to serve”.
To grow is to sow. To thrive is to give. Every one of us has the ability to influence another. Go and make disciples Jesus said. Simply put – make more of you. People with a love for God, His Church, engaging life with Him in every way.
There are a couple of simple things we can do to effect this. Firstly our lives and how we live it speak loudly. We disciple by example. Others see how we live and are inspired to do likewise.
Therefore, I find it essential to encourage everyone to not just connect, grow and serve but to find their ‘sweet spot’. Discover what they are best at, called to, gifted at and live to do. When you live in this zone you are most happy and most fruitful. Of course living connected, growing and serving is essential, as you can be thriving in your giftedness and still not be an example of Christ. But put together with an active growth in Christ this is a wonderful combination that inspires others to grow in Him, and discover who they are meant to be.
The second thing we can all do is introduce others to a life in Christ. Help connect them to Jesus and grow in Him. We do this every time we seize an opportunity as it presents itself; by bringing them to Church, connect group or a community gathering; helping them grow once they make a decision to follow Jesus – that is you and I are the church (its not an institution that does the work), so you and I bring them to a connect group, new believers environment, encourage them to get baptised, pray for them to be filled with the Holy Spirit, show them how to pray and read the bible regularly, help their journey begin well.
The greatest environment to be discipling people is the context of a Connect Group. Deciding to lead a Connect Group is definable way to proactively disciple a group of people you connect with well.
But whatever we do lets step up and be disciplers and fulfil the great desire of God to build His Church.
I pray you thrive as you make your next steps to grow in Him.
See you in Church.