Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Thrive

In the past couple of years, we've spent time in a number of churches. Two stood out to me as churches that are "thriving."

- 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?

A re-post from the archives.


  1. Um...Being brave. Stepping out even if it means you might trip and fall.

    Writing a book proposal, working on speeches asking others to join your tribe or team or whatever.

    AHHHH. Hard stuff. But God has me here because only He can do it through me. Thanks for the reminder friend.

  2. This is such a timely post for me! We are actually members of a church that has been struggling and we're making one of those U-Turns as a body right now. I have been so excited to see it happen in my church, and yet I haven't really been working on doing it in my own personal life until this week.

    I am taking control of my time and saying goodbye to laziness. I have spent too much time sleeping in and spending my days on the couch, wondering why my house isn't in order. Sometimes it's hard to convince yourself it's worth it, but at the end of the day, there is nothing like welcoming your husband home to a clean and peaceful environment!


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