By Pastor Nathan Richardson  Heartland Community Church, La Porte City

Ways to Grow

There comes a time in every young person’s life when you feel like you have finally arrived, where life seems so good it could not be any better. For my son, Tedy, it was when he was tall enough to go down the big slide at the LPC Aquatic Center. He loved it so much he spent the next ninety minutes on the waterslide.

We all grow. Growth is necessary but we are unable to control the growth process. We must start to see growth differently than we do now. For example there is more than one way to grow. Even Jesus himself grew, Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” This passage describes four different ways of growth. I would like to break them down for you in a new way.

Stature- High Chair/Physical Growth-High chairs are used to help feed babies. Babies grow by a physical growth. Is the church like a high chair? Yes, but high chairs are temporary. Eventually the baby will outgrow the high chair. The baby will learn to feed themselves. It would be awkward to see a 40 year old being spoon fed in a high chair. You have to be careful as a high chair faith can lead to a lazy, unhealthy, narcissistic faith. There must be more than a high chair and spoon fed faith.

Wisdom- Desk Chair/Mental Growth- Desk chairs are used by students to learn. Students grow through information. Is the church similar? Yes, but a desk chair is also temporary. Eventually a student graduates but hopefully does not stop learning. The role of education is to teach a student the ability to continue growing for a lifetime. However if not focused a learning driven faith leads to works driven and prideful faith. Faith is more than attaining knowledge. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 confirms, “knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.”

Favor with God- Pew/Spiritual Growth- Pew’s are where people sit during a worship experience. In spiritual growth people grow in the heart. However just because you sit in a pew on Sunday’s it is not an automatic heart change. The danger is sitting in a pew becomes just another thing we do, but never impacts your life. The second danger is that your heart becomes legalistic thinking your way is the best or even only way. The pew is also temporary. You may sit in it an hour or two a week. The real test is if your faith is actually lived out when you are not sitting in a pew.

Favor with Man- Piano Bench/Relational and Application Growth- A piano bench is special, it is meant for two people. The teacher and the student sit side by side as the teacher demonstrates. There is a relationship of one pouring into the other. Then as the student grows is able to play the piece on their own. The student practices, the teacher gives advice, the student applies the advice and grows. Eventually the student may grow enough and be able to move into a teaching role.

This is what it is meant to be a disciple. Jesus came alongside each one. Walked with them, taught them and there was transformation. Then Jesus released them to make disciples. Each disciple eventually makes disciples. It was always part of Jesus’ plan for us to be in the role of disciple maker. Now talk to your Pastor to see how you can make disciples.