Summary: A healthy baby should grow. A healthy baby should grow in size. A healthy baby should grow in her hunger. A healthy baby will be active and seek to move about. So should a healthy church!
Please e-mail me with any comments or if you use any part of this at your church at Mail4ChrisR@aol.com. I would love to hear about it. God Bless! - Chris
Scrapbooking is Renee’s new favorite hobby. I imagine we have spent a small fortune in film and the processing of the hundreds of pictures. We have taken many pictures of our little Bethany throughout the past 10 months of her short life. Now Renee has found a creative way to preserve all of these memories in a scrapbook.
As I look through the scrapbook I am amazed at how Bethany has grown. She was so small and feeble that first day, week and month. She was so beautifully nit together by God in her mother’s womb. And now she is eating “grown-up food” with her two new teeth. She is crawling everywhere she can find trouble. And I love it when she looks at me and says, “DA…DA…DA…DA…” (It’s close enough for me.)
Oh, how Bethany has grown. Renee has organized the scrapbook in such a way that there is a page for each month with pictures and journaling of Bethany’s accomplishments. I can look back and watch the progress of her life. Often people mention to us how healthy she looks. It seems people can’t help but notice her growth. And her growth is typical of a healthy baby.
A healthy baby should grow. A healthy baby should grow in size. A healthy baby should grow in her hunger. Her movement will slowly increase, to the point where she begins to walk on her own. A healthy baby will be active and seek to move about.
So should a healthy church!
We should be hungry for more substance and nutrition. 1 Peter 2:2 tells us to “crave pure spiritual milk,” like newborn babies. New Burlington UMC should desire to be more active in our worship, our fellowship, and our outreach. Our church should be growing at a healthy pace, just as Bethany has grown over time. Growing, not only in size, but also condition.
Are we hungry? Are we active? And most importantly, are we growing? Maybe some of you answer, “Yes.” I am interested to know where you see growth. But, if you answer “No,” then my question is “why.”
Why no growth? I am not completely sure I know the full answer. I have prayed about it for months now. I have asked God. I have searched His Word and this is what he has revealed to me: Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
If Bethany stopped growing … if Bethany lost her appetite … if Bethany became inactive, I would be greatly concerned! If the pattern continued she would suffer and could die. Something would have to change in order for the situation to improve.
In the well-known book for new moms and dads, What to Expect in the First Year, the authors suggest the following advice when giving medication: “Sometime during the first year, it is very likely that medication will be recommended or prescribed for your baby. Starting with the very first time, make it a habit to ask the right questions about the medication and use it correctly.”
This summer I desire to examine the church closely and seek out solutions. I want to help find the cure. I realize that the medicine is vision. Vision is recommended and prescribed by God. This medication is to be used correctly. And each person who attends this church needs to make it a habit of asking the right questions about vision:
“What is the church supposed to do?”
“How can we improve our health?”
“Have we seen health and growth in the past?”
“How long ago and what worked?”
“How are we to grow?”
“What do we need to change in order to grow?”
“What is the vision God has for us?”
It is vital that we have vision. And having a vision statement is only part of having vision. Our vision needs to be specific, scriptural, and practical. Each person needs to be part of the healing process. We are all part of one body, New Burlington UMC. If one part of our body is not improving, then we all suffer. I pray that we will ask the right questions and contribute to helping the church grow to become healthy and strong.