Who's Responsible For My Growth At Church?
Who’s responsible for MY growth as a Christian at church? It’s a great question and sometimes it’s driven by the common misconception that the church needs to cater for ‘my’ growth as a Christian. So unless I’m getting something out of the preaching (it’s too long), or unless the worship moves me (it’s not very exciting), or unless I have friends (I haven’t got any close relationships), or unless there’s programs that meet my needs and my children’s needs, this church is not catering for my growth as a Christian! Can I say to you that to make your growth as a Christian solely dependent on your Sunday’s at church is not only a mistake, but far from what the Bible teaches. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it’s foolishness.
I’ve often put it like this, ‘Would you live on one main meal a week, and starve yourself the rest of the week?’ The reality is that none of you live on one main meal a week, and if you did, it wouldn’t be long before you would feel the effects physically. You’d experience tiredness, lack of concentration, apathy, and dizziness would eventually set in as you suffer the effects of physical starvation. Physically, you and I were not made to live on one main meal a week. Why would we think any differently of our spiritual lives? Spiritually, you and I were also not made to live on one main meal a week.
In the same way, if you’re not feeding yourself spiritually each day in personal Bible reading and prayer, it’s no wonder you’re not growing in the Christian life. You’re starving yourself spiritually which is the cause of your lethargy and apathy as a Christian. If you’ve never personally delighted in feeding on God’s word during the week, what makes you think you’d actually enjoy feeding on his word on Sundays and in community groups? If you’re not investing in relationships with others during the week in community groups or in sharing your life with others here during the week building deep Christian friendships, it’s no wonder you have no close or meaningful relationships at church.
So it’s never surprising to find Christian people who’ve been at church for years, but who’ve never grown or experienced more of God in the gospel and who’ve never grown deep and meaningful Christian friendships. Why? It’s because they’ve lived on a one meal a week faith. Their knowledge of God has not deepened, their dependence on the Holy Spirit has not grown, their faith in Jesus has not flourished, their relationships with others have never deepened, because the sum total of their Christian life is Sunday church. And where there is no feeding of the soul during the week, the soul is starved. And when spiritually starved, your love and passion for God and his people eventually dies.
The problem is often not with Sunday church but your lack of eating during the week. If you’ve never fostered a hunger for God during the week, if you’ve never fed on Him and his word during the week, and if you’ve never invested in relationships with His people during the week, it’s no wonder your experience of Sunday church is empty. Sunday church with others is meant to be the climax of the week where we come together to praise His name, to hear His word, and to encourage each other to love Him! It’s the banquet we share when we gather, but you’re not going to enjoy it if you’re not eating personally and with others during the week. It’s probably the reason why Sunday church for you is empty. It’s because you’re living on a one meal a week faith.
So it’s worth asking: are you personally investing in your spiritual growth during the week? Are you feeding yourself and immersing yourself in personal Bible reading and prayer during the week? Are you making time to grow and develop meaningful Christian friendships with others during the week? Are you growing with others around God’s word during the week? The Psalmist writes that he meditates on God’s word day and night, and he buries God’s word deep in his heart (Ps.1:2; 119:2). Until you’re pursuing this you’ll never grow in your Christian life. The Psalmist in 1:3 reminds us that flourishing in the Christian life takes place as we plant our roots in the waters of his life giving word. The writer to the Hebrews in 10:24-25 encourages us to not neglect meeting together regularly, as some are in the habit of doing, but to encourage one another, without which we cannot grow in love and good deeds as God’s people. Paul in Ephesians 4:15 reminds us that unless we are speaking God’s truth in love to each other we will never grow in maturity. You’ll never grow if you’re living on a one meal a week faith. You need God’s word and you need God’s people in your life, all of which takes a personal commitment beyond Sunday church. Sunday church is rarely the problem when it comes to your growth as a Christian – you are.
Let me encourage you to start eating daily and regularly both personally and with others in your church community!
Eugene Hor ~ Lead English Pastor