We are all in a process of change. We are either degrading or developing. This happens in our minds, in our bodies and in our spirits. When we degrade, it is usually because we’ve slipped into patterns that are designed to help us maintain where we are. We tend to like what we like and who we like. In order to grow we have to step up and step into something new!

If you’ve been doing the same things, hanging out with the same people, or thinking the same way for the last 10 years or more… it is time to take a step for growth!

1. Take a class to develop a skill, or rework one. Several years ago I went through a doctoral program on preaching. After 4 years of work, my preaching habits and style changed. It made me more effective and it made preaching more enjoyable.

2. Make a new friend. Look for the person around you who might never make friends with ordinarily. Find ways to get to know them and include them in your life. Maybe it’s someone from a different cultural background, or political ideas. But force yourself to step outside your comfort zone.

3. Start a new ministry. You may need to stop what you’ve been doing for the last 20 years. But step into something that challenges your skills and your heart. See the people around you and the culture you live in. Let your God-given passions push you to developing new solutions to people’s needs.

4. Try a new spiritual discipline. Maybe it is time to change it up a bit. If you’ve been reading “Our Daily Bread” or “Morning and Evening” as your spiritual habit, grab a new book. Spend more time in the text of Scripture. Plan a regular afternoon of silence or solitude. Look for a place to sacrificially give. Make a commitment to share your faith once a week. Whatever it is – try something new and see if God might bring you a new sense of His presence and blessing.

In church ministry, one of the toughest ways to grow and expand ministry is to do the same things – only better. Real lasting growth comes when we do new things. These new things push us to the edge of faith and help us trust in the presence and power of God. Is it time for a change?

Throughout the Scriptures we see God initiating change. He moved Abram, Jacob, Daniel, Peter, James and John away from what they knew. He pushed his people into new contexts and communities. And every time he did that, it provided an opportunity to grow and to expand the impact of the gospel. Be careful, if we settle for where we are and what we are, we will quickly become something less!