Welcome to the summer! The football and Wimbledon have finished, and so the summer proper begins. It is a time of rest and rejuvenation before the schools begin their year and (hopefully) everything will be getting back to normal.
‘Growth’ is of course what we are aiming for as a church. Someone said that growth should be cross shaped – growing up to God and deeper in our spirituality, and growing out with our mission and service.
In her ‘Charge’ to the newly admitted Churchwardens of the deanery last month, Archdeacon Nikki advocated a small twist to the diocesan vision. Rather than calling us to ‘Being Kingdom People’, she said that we should be aiming for ‘Growing as Kingdom People’.
The difference between ‘being’ and ‘growing’ is worth reflecting on. As adults, growing is something we often consider to have left behind. We no longer buy clothes or shoes a size larger because we will grow into them (although there is always that danger). The archdeacon has, however also been telling the Churchwardens not to rush into things. The last year has been really tough on all those who have an active part in managing church life. Being a disciple of Jesus does not mean using all your resources until you have nothing left, it does mean running the race ‘in such a way that you may win it’ (1 Corinthians 9:24). Like the fable of the hare and the tortoise, slow and steady wins the race.
So even though most of us are no longer children, growing out of our clothes or needing a break for the summer, it is wise to take a rest and take stock of Jesus calling on our lives. We have no idea how this coming autumn and winter is going to pan out. We know that there will be challenges, people to serve and good news to proclaim, but we know little about the circumstances in which our service will take place.
So take stock this summer, and learn how to grow. It is not enough simply to expect to remain the same – we’re always either growing or dying. Deepen your understanding of the ways of God; Pray such that you hear his voice calling you upward; Look out for those he is expecting you to serve; and know that you bear the good news that Christ expects you to proclaim. This summer we are preparing for a slow and steady season of growth.
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.Ephesians 3:16-19
Have a great summer. With Every Blessing