Growth without Depth?

Written by on October 13, 2010

We thought we would begin to more regularly capture some of the thoughts, concerns, and activities of our life together as the VantagePoint3 community. May our blog conversation serve to be a deepening and igniting influence among an extended community of people who seek a more relational approach to life and ministry today… It has been over ten years ago now that Randy and I traveled to Eastbourne, England for the International Consultation on Discipleship. We continue to be gripped by our recollection of John Stott’s keynote words that Fall 1999 on the state of the Church. Stott remarked,

“I wonder how you would sum up the Christian situation in the world today. For me, it’s a strange, rather tragic, and disturbing paradox. On the one hand, in many parts of the world the church is growing by leaps and bounds. But on the other hand, throughout the church, superficiality is everywhere. That’s the paradox. Growth without depth. “No doubt God is not pleased with superficial discipleship. The apostolic writers of the New Testament declare with one voice that God wants us to grow up and grow into maturity in Christ…”

One is hard pressed to find a time in history when the Church has gone more places, has activated more efforts, has provided more resources, and has proclaimed the gospel more widely than the Church in North America over the past several decades. Yet there is rising from among all this activity a growing realization that we are just skimming across the surface. God’s Spirit is certainly up to something good, inviting us to hear yet again Paul’s words to that community of saints in Ephesus some two thousand years ago—“We must no longer be children…we must grow up in everyway…into Christ” (Ephesians 4). May our ongoing conversation here be a modest and meaningful challenge to the superficiality that pervades so much of our business-as-usual Church life…Spirit of God be generous among us.


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