Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Spiritual Wellness for Churches in One Word: "Mature"!

Reading time: two minutes. The wellness themes highlighted in the Lutheran Wellness Wheel are given some wonderful scriptural insight in Ephesians 4.  Meditation on the Word, sometimes just one word in a text, can produce the guidance we need as we seek the fullness of congregational life the Lord desires. The word for reflection on Spiritual Wellbeing comes from verse 13: “…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Spiritually mature congregations handle everything better.  They dream better.  They serve better.  They witness better.  So how do congregations become mature?  From my experience with pastors, I know you’re on the right track.  Today I won’t tell you anything you don’t already know, but I will try to offer you some encouragement to keep striving toward that maturity Paul describes for the people of God. Ephesians 4:13 is loaded with some really powerful words we could focus on, but I think they all build toward and bring focus to the word “maturity.”  My favorite definition of maturity in Christ is “to be willing and able to do the right thing.” Doing the right thing doesn’t come naturally for me.  My nature, the “Darrell” in me, is naturally inclined to do the wrong thing. Spiritual maturity is the new nature, Christ in me, taking dominance over my own, sinful inclinations, making me more and more willing and more and more able to do the right thing; to follow the Spirit in the will of the Father. I think it’s the same for congregations.  Spirit-led mature churches desire the will of God and are able to follow where He leads.  So how do we grow more mature? Those lovely words in Ephesians 4:13 show the way.  Right after Paul mentions you in verses 11-12, (remember, those called to be servants of the word?) he explains what God’s Word does. “Unity in the faith.”  How does that happen?  Personal opinions and preferences, the enemies of the Spirit, fall by the wayside when the people of God study His Word and follow His Word.  Unity is a sign of maturity. “Knowledge of the Son of God.”  How does that happen? Jesus is made known and Jesus leads His people when the people of God study His Word and follow His Word.  Knowing Jesus is a sign of maturity. “Attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  How does that happen?  It happens when the people of God study His Word and follow His Word.  The fullness of Christ is really the definition of maturity. We’re in the maturity business, and every time you preach and teach the Word, the Spirit is at work uniting God’s people in the faith, revealing Jesus Christ, instilling the fullness of Christ into our emptiness. Ministry is always about the Word, isn’t it?  Keep up the good work.  God is at work in you and through you! Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee?  Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs.  Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!