Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Subtraction is Necessary for Growth

With God, subtraction is just as important as addition. Sometimes subtraction is necessary for your growth.

What is God telling you to subtract from your life? Is it a harmful habit, a draining relationship, or unnecessary busyness? God wants you to subtract certain things so you can grow. He often tells us to “put off” and “lay aside” certain behaviors (Ephesians 4:22, Colossians 3:8-9, Hebrews 12:1-2) so that we might grow and run this race well.

God always prunes dead wood from the branches so that the remaining branches might bear more fruit (John 15:1-6).

Consider churches. PCC has grown (over the years) as much through subtraction as through addition. I’ve never been afraid to say that PCC is not for everyone, and it’s not – in fact, we don’t even try to be. We have a unique vision that may not be shared by some people, and I’m okay with that. I always encourage those who do not share our vision/mission/structure to find another church that is a better fit with their personalities and backgrounds. This is what Seminar 101 accomplishes for us; we lay it all out right there and “nip it in the bud” so to speak. This has resulted in amazing spiritual health for our church… not to mention the physical and spiritual growth that has occurred. You see, if a church is going reach people for Christ (get healthy and stay healthy) there are some people who need to leave. It doesn’t mean they are (all) bad people, it just means they don’t fit. By leaving, organizational wind drag is minimized and forward momentum is increased. Additionally, it makes room for other people (who truly share the vision) to step up into leadership and ministry roles who will enthusiastically propel the church forward.

I’m not just spouting opinion here. This can be found in the Bible too. Consider Ananias and Saphira, a married couple who lied to the Holy Ghost. God struck them dead in the middle of a church service. After they were “removed” the church grew exponentially and great fear came upon all the church (Acts 5:1-13).

In I Corinthians 5 an immoral person was disciplined and turned out of the church, (for the destruction of his flesh so that his afflication might cause him to repent), which later ressulted in church growth and improved spiritual health for the entire congregation, 2 Corinthians 7.

As painful as it is, subtraction, church discipline, and yes, even pruning are necessary. They are necessary for you… and for your church… and God Himself is the author of it.

Things could not be better at PCC than they are right now. The ministry teams currently serving at PCC are made up of some the greatest people I've ever seen; they are so easy to work with. We have full "buy in" from our congregation. Volunteerism is at an all-time high. Hundreds of lives have been changed by the power of Christ. This is what we were made to do.

What a great way for us to end the year!