A growing church

2 Thessalonians 1:3-12

Whatever God is going to do with those who don’t believe is God’s doing. You and I can’t determine what that is, what it looks like or who, exactly, should be expecting it. 

What we can do is reflect on what we can do.

And that is to trust God’s work in our hearts. To, like Jesus did, turn our attention to the way of the cross. When our eyes our fully on Jesus, it’s then the things of earth grow strangely dim. As they do, the light of Christ shines more within us.

To be sure, that is all God’s work. You may pray. You might get yourself to church on Sundays. You are the one who cracks open a Bible or an app. Yes, that is something you do; keep it up, by the way. But how our hearts change in worship and through prayer and meditating on scripture is God’s doing. 

The more we open ourselves to that reality, the more our church grows into what God desires it to be. For too long, we’ve asked programs and gimmicks to do what they could not do. We thought they would make us relevant and attractive. On a superficial level, they did. But it was always superficial and never lasted. We also put pressures on ourselves that God never intended.

So, what does last? How can we expect our churches to grow? What are we even growing into? One word: Love.

Listen again to some of the opening of 2 Thessalonians. We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing (2 Thessalonians 1:3). 

If our church isn’t growing in love, we aren’t growing at all. And we aren’t being God’s church. When Jesus said the entirety of God’s commands rests on loving God and loving neighbor, he meant it. 

Love doesn’t need to be relevant. Who doesn’t want to be loved? Now, love can be creative, and it must be genuine. When it is, people notice. It’s the evidence of just how good God is.

Stay blessed…john