Connect and Grow
Last weekend, Lindy Kubecka and Rob Douglas laid out the nature of 2 key processes needed for any church and any individual believer to flourish spiritually. They are processes that are closely tied. They also made key distinctions in their discussion that are worthy of repeating and urging us all to reflect upon.
First, connecting is far more than meeting. We can meet people without really connecting. Our “go to” passage for our 5 mapping points describes connecting this way:
All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts Acts 2:44-46 (NIV)
As I reflect on these verses, it’s clear to me that their relationships didn’t begin and end on Sunday mornings. They were doing life “together”. They shared their blessings and their challenges. They took time to have casual contact and intense contact. The technology of our time seems to be great for “connecting”—on Facebook, twitter, texts, snap chats, Instagram, ad infinitum. These may be used to facilitate connecting, but true connecting happens in person, with verbal and non-verbal communication all involved; thinking together, praying together, serving the Lord together, planning together and facing trials together.
Second, growing is far more than learning. There are scholars who master the factual nuances about the Scripture, but are unborn spiritually. Learning without applying is foolishness as Jesus pointed out in the parable of the foundations. Those on a path of growth are like those building on a rock foundation; those on a path of foolishness are building on sand. They just learn without applying. Application of Scripture happens when we are connected to God and key human relationships. We need people who can spur our growth and we need to help others grow (Hebrews 10:24-25). We need to let others know us at a personal level and we need to get to know others well. The Holy Spirit then uses us as “iron sharpening iron”, helping one another with our blind spots and weaknesses, and developing one another’s gifts and talents. When it happens the results are amazing.
Understanding “connect and grow” in this way leads to our emphasis on small groups. Many of us think we can grow, without connection. We can be deceived into thinking that we can claim spiritual maturity as our own by living on a deserted island of bible data, orthodox theological doctrine and outwardly moral conduct. I think if you peruse the Gospel record you will find that this was the opinion of the Scribes and Pharisees who completely whiffed on their assessment of Jesus and His teachings.
We certainly need to learn, but we must also carry our knowledge into strategic relational settings where it penetrates and influences our and other’s lives.
This weekend we will be refreshing our perspectives on “Worship, Tell, and Serve”; the remaining dynamics that marked the influence of the early church.
Looking forward to seeing you!