- grow vigorously
- make steady progress
- to flourish
- grow fast and stay healthy
Others appeared to be merely surviving. They weren't dying, by any means, but they were just plugging along doing what they had always been doing.
I find myself in plain old surviving mode periodically. Okay, that was a lie. I spend most of my time in that mode. Not dying, but definitely not thriving, just surviving.
I'll think of my marriage and say, "It's good. It's way better now than it was a few years ago. Sure, it could probably be better. But we're okay."
The same can often be said of my walk with God, family, finances, and ministry... "I'm fine." Not great, not amazing, not fantastic, but fine.
Surviving = fine. Thriving = better.
So here's what I noticed at those two churches that are thriving - the one thing that stood out as different about them. They were (and are) changing. Always changing. Constantly tweaking. Willing to try new things, welcoming to new people and ideas, open to allowing God's direction - even if it meant making the occasional U-turn.
So how does one move beyond surviving to thriving?
Do something new. Try something different. Accept suggestions. Be open and willing to change direction, even if it means heading in the opposite way from which you were going.
Yep, change can be scary. Terrifying, even. But things that are static, unchanging, immovable - they cannot grow. Eventually their resistance to change will lead to death.
A marriage that is okay for too long, without new inspiration or true investment in growing together, becomes one with difficult patches. The ministry that keeps the same old six people in charge for years at a time, without the introduction of new people with fresh ideas, becomes stale. The faith walk that coasts with God, without going out on a limb to try doing something truly sacrificial for Him, becomes stagnant.
In order to thrive, we need to be brave. Brave enough to stop doing the same old stuff and try something new.
But forget all that —
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
~ Isaiah 43:18-19 (NLT, emphasis mine)
What are of your life are you simply surviving in right now? What change can you implement so that you might begin to thrive?