Healthy Things Grow

Posted on October 22, 2013 | 10 comments

In a conversation with a leader last week, I used the expression “healthy things grow” to talk about what I was hoping to see in one of the ministries that I oversee.

It is a good principle. Healthy kids grow. Healthy plants grow.

If there is health, there is the potential for growth.

We encounter problems with this principle when we focus our efforts on the growth. And try to make growth happen.

Pointing to growth as a sign of healthy things, we become driven to experience growth.

But healthy things are not the only things that grow. Cancer grows. Weeds grow. Beer bellies grow.

Focusing on growth is a way to feed the false self. It is a way to improve how we measure up by comparison, and thus improve our sense of worth.

We can do this in our spiritual life by seeking value in the questions “How often…”, “How long…”, and “How much…”. Doing the right things rather than being the right person.

In our churches and ministries we do this when success is evaluated by participation or budget. It is assumed that a growing church is a healthy church.

As a blogger, it is easy to judge success by visits or clicks.

When growth is the driving force, it becomes easy to compromise our values. Growth becomes the new value.

People can be manipulated. Used as a means to an end and then discarded.

The lens of appropriate behavior becomes whatever helps with growth.

Giving them what their itching ears want to hear. Focusing on externals, diminishing vulnerability and humility.

All because healthy things grow. But, it ironically becomes the pursuit of growth that creates the unhealth.

Instead, if healthy things grow, our focus should be on health. Creating the potential for growth.

Our trust should be in the God who makes things grow.

We should strive to remain connected to Him. In our churches, we should disciple people to building and foster that connection.

Identity secure in Christ, we can rest that in God’s economy, He rewards the labor and faithfulness.

Growth is his stated responsibility.

A concept that is very unsatisfying to our western, individualistic, make-you-own-way mindset.

So questions that we should ask of our self and of our organizations are:

What does health look like?

What is the pathway to health?

How is a healthy spirituality or organization maintained?

What challenges to health will be experienced?

How are pursuit of health and desire to grow balanced?

Is my or my organization’s lack of growth indicative of a lack of health?

I am a certified coach specializing in leadership, relationship, and identity. Services I offer are one-on-one coaching, speaking at organizations/churches, leadership workshops, and church retreats. For more info, click here to email me.

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  1. Thank you for linking up to What I Learned This Week over on my blog – From Inmates To Playdates. In the future, when linking up a post on your blog, please link back somewhere to my blog somewhere within your blog post.

  2. I’m sending this to my hubby, Scott, because I know it will be encouraging to him. It really is to me! It’s something our senior pastor doesn’t seem to understand and my husband, along with the other pastors, are evaluated based upon the bottom line–numbers. He often feels like a cog in the machinery of ministry. I know this situation is not the way Christ wants it, but we persevere and seek to obey this flawed human spiritual leader as unto our Lord, who we are trusting to redeem the situation. Prayers would be appreciated!

  3. Excellent thoughts here, Scott. You always have a way of pointing out the less obvious perspective that so many of us could miss. It is kind of like focusing on the root issues of situations instead of symptoms. It is those roots that make way for growth when cultivated properly. Thanks so much for your posts!

  4. Visiting from #TellHisStory thanks for the article. I love the idea of “health” instead of growth. Growth can get us so focused on the wrong areas. I know also that not every organization or congregation will look the same and is not “called” to be the same.
    Blessings to you!

  5. Healthy and expected to grow – but if it does not, then something is wrong. The word stunted comes to mind. Growth stopped because of what? Poor health perhaps? We desire our children to be healthy and grow, and a growing church is usually healthy.
    I find myself in a church that is diminishing because the members are one by one going to heaven and only a few new ones to take their place. Good preaching by the part time Pastor and friendly nice people. God has not asked me to leave, but something is happening and I am anxious to know which path to take. I am trusting the Lord as we all must do. Thank you for sharing your awesome thoughts with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

  6. Thought provoking. It applies to our personal life as well as the church. Our health is related to our focus on Jesus and obedience to him. I am visiting from Thoughtful Thursday.

  7. This is very interesting and food for thought, it is also encouraging, thank you 🙂

  8. Great point that not only healthy things grow…but so do weeds! May we…may I…be constantly seeking to glorify God only….not worrying about the numbers or how things may or may not appear to grow! Blessed by this post today friend! Thank you! ~ Jen

  9. Great thoughts! Thank for sharing at Whatever Wednesday on Thank You Honey’s! Hope to see you again this week!

  10. You’re right- both the good and the bad can grow. It all depends on what you feed and where you put your attention.


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