Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Failure to Thrive

Failure to Thrive (FTT) is a condition most often associated with infants, simply defined as inadequate growth.  A variety of factors from medical to environmental can contribute to FTT.  One of the most common contributing factors is a lack of touch, stimulation and love. 

We were created for relationship; for touch and love. When love and touch are absent we won’t grow.  We might survive but we certainly won’t thrive and that’s unacceptable because we were created to thrive.

Jesus said that He came so that we might:

may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

Too often we miss out on that abundant life.  We survive, but we fail to thrive.

In happens to individuals, in friendships, in marriages and even to churches.  It happens because touch and love are absent.

Too many churches today are experiencing inadequate growth – they are failing to thrive.  Just as with infants there are a range of factors but perhaps most simply it’s the result of a lack of touch, stimulation and love.

We spend a lot of time and energy devoted to church growth.  I recently pulled together from my bookshelves all the books I’ve acquired over the years.  It’s quite a stack.  They have great titles (and many are great books).  My favorite title (and one first and best books I’ve read on church growth) is Bill Easum’s Sacred Cows Make Gourmet Burgers.  Each author offers great wisdom and insights and practical things we might try, but there’s no “silver bullet” answer (though a few will try to sell some).  Perhaps, its because churches, like the rest of us, thrive when there is touch, stimulation and love.

What would happen if we focused our time and energy of sharing Jesus’ love with touches of grace – not just with the world around us but also with one another?  It just might lead to life in the fullest!