Over this past year, 2016, we have felt this theme of grow, growth & growing as a call to us; as a christian community, and as individuals. From the pulpit we have heard at least 20 message about growing – and I can tell you that it was not planned that way! The focus of growth is that healthy things grow naturally. When we have a healthy heart, healthy body, healthy thought patterns, and healthy emotional and spiritual patterns in our lives then growth will naturally happen. Just as physically we are born and we grow, as long as we are healthy in our spirits, we should be growing.
We have been encouraged to grow our prayer life, by committing to daily reading the bible and seeking God in prayer. We have been encouraged to grow our hearts by being the one to forgive first, to say sorry first, to be humble hearted and generous in our love and grace for others. We have been encouraged to grow ‘in our anointing’ – to recognise the gifts that God has given us, and to use them and learn about them and use them – for the building up of others. And, as we have committed to putting God and his ways first in our lives, we have seen growth occur in our congregation.
I have been a Christian for 25 years , and in that time I have heard and seen many churches and groups pray for ‘revival’. I think in my mind we were expecting our churches to triple overnight, as we saw on the day of Pentecost, when Peter preached and ‘3000 were added to their number’. However at One Heart, our senior pastor Rob gave me some great advice a few years ago, he said, ” we are not aiming for a huge influx of people, we want to see one person come in and find their place with us, then another person come in and find their place. Healthy things grow naturally, not all at once.” We have seen a growth of people attending One Heart, in that our Sunday services have increased in number by around 25% over this one year. Of course we are not all about numbers, no church is. But statistics show a movement of a healthy church towards healthy growth. People feel comfortable to invite friends, family and workmates because they know One Heart is a safe, welcoming and inclusive place to be. And once people are part of a service, they feel comfortable to stay and come back again the next week. This is revival in our church, that one at a time people will have an encounter with God and will find their place in the Church and begin to grow in Christ as individuals. And then invite a friend.
Who knows what 2017 will bring for us all, but we are committed to continuing to grow towards God, individually and as One Heart.
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