The verb “thrive“ first entered my vocabulary through conversation with our pediatrician. Our first child was diagnosed in the first months of her young life as “failing to thrive”. Anxiously we took her to the renowned “Sick Children’s Hospital” in Toronto, where specialists did even more detailed tests and measurements. Finally the doctor’s gave us the joyous news: “Mr. and Mrs. Bandy, you’re daughter is not failing to thrive. She is just naturally petite.” Today she is no longer petite, but has “thrived” to become a mature, lively, energetic, passionate, purposeful young woman.
All Christians understand that the church is not a building, polity, or budget. It is the “body of Christ” in which every member has a gift and calling. A church does not have to be large, but God does want it to thrive. Measurable trends for membership, attendance, diversity, education, and outreach are useful … but beyond that is the deeper spiritual unity with Christ and participation in God’s mission to redeem the world. God wants the church to become a mature, lively, energetic, passionate, purposeful expression of Christ in the world.
I feel the same urgency toward churches in the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe, and around the world that I felt toward my own child years ago. Many established churches, of all cultures and traditions, are “failing to thrive”. My specialty is the ability to assess reality, reverse decline, and accelerate the spiritual and missional growth of churches.
The global Christian movement is extraordinarily diverse. Every individual person is equally precious, but differently created, gifted, shaped, and called. Every individual church is precious, but differently cultured, blessed, organized, and sent. One size does not fit all. My goal is to help every unique Christian community be true to itself and faithful to God. If you are a church leader, congregation, denomination, or Christian agency and want to unleash the potential of your spiritual gifts, and align your life to the purpose of God, then I really, really want to help you.