Wednesday, June 29, 2011

13 Characteristics of a Growing Church: Cling to Good

I am constantly amazed at the shear quantity of horrible and stressful things that happen in the lives and ministry of those in the church--and it all happens in the name of God and ministry. Over the past few months I have had a youth ministry friend who has struggled with finding joy in his ministry and his church. Things are piling up all around him and the stress in mounting. Students are flaking on responsibilities while he is given new responsibilities almost daily. He is frustrated and overwhelmed and doesn't know what he should. Today we are going to talk about clinging to what is good. That is my friend's hope right now. He must cling to what is good for it is just as vital in a growing personal relationship with Christ as it is in a growing Church.

So here's a quick recap of the Characteristics of a Growing Church:
1st Love Genuinely
2nd Hate What is Evil

The 3rd characteristic of a growing Church is to Cling to What is Good.
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." Romans 12:9

There are several different ways that this verse is translated. I love what the ESV says...hold fast. When you cling to something or hold fast to it you basically have a death grip on whatever you are clinging to or holding on to. The key word here is "good". It won't do anything for you or for your church if you are clinging to your bitterness or anger or a dead program. You have to hold fast to what is good.

This same phrase is used in Psalm 63:8 when it says, "I cling to you; your right hand upholds me." Here the psalmist is talking about clinging to the ultimate good which is God. If we are going to have growing Christian lives and churchs then we should cling to God and His will for us and our church. Clinging to God means that sometimes we must let go of the other things that we have been holding on to for so long. Psalm 31:6 says, "I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the LORD."

The things that we are holding on to can be good in nature but if we are desperately holding on to them when God is telling us to let them go then they are what the verse calls "worthless idols" and they get in the way of holding on to God. These things that were "good" are now stumbling blocks in our growth and in our walk with Christ. Sadly that is what is wrong with many of our churches. We are dying because we are too busy holding on to the "good" things that we have always done instead of holding on to God. Sometimes we must let go of our ideas of what is good and our traditions so that we have our hands free to hold on to God.

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