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.