The False Insinuation of ‘Healthy Things Grow’

There’s a frequent quote used in our Christian circles. Perhaps you’ve heard it:

Healthy things grow.

While this statement is not incorrect. It’s often used to imply that if you, your organization or church is healthy you will continue to numerically grow. Well, weeds grow, bacteria grows, cancer grows and the list goes on. Unhealthy and bad things grow as well. Healthy things do grow, but not just healthy things–living things grow! What is implied is that “healthy things grow fast.” This is unhealthy and untrue.

A church can have 50 people attending and it be healthy and vibrant. An organization can specialize in a single product for years and be healthy and vibrant. You can be a part of a church that has 10,000 in attendance and it be healthy. Why? Because health should not be determined by just numbers. Health should be determined by character, calling and the culture we create.

Perhaps healthy things produce expected or better than expected results.

By us insinuating that healthy things grow and demeaning a small ministry that has been around for years is narrow-minded. I’ll never forget something I heard Pastor Rick Warren (lead pastor at Saddleback) say. He said,

“I can teach you how to grow a church. I just can’t teach you how to grow a church fast.”

Rick Warren

That statement rocked my world. I have literally heard senior pastors make statements like “They only have 121 people after five years. They need to close down.” Or, “I wish they’d merge their church with ours because they’re going no where with only 150 people. If they were healthy they’d be growing.” Wait!? What!? If they were healthy they’d be growing? They are healthy. Who are we to determine the rate of their growth. A corpse flower can take up to 20 years to bloom. According to many leaders today that would take entirely too long. The flower would be plucked for something to grow faster.

I would challenge you to not rush what God wants to do. Healthy things do grow, but sometimes the health is not seen numerically for years or maybe it’s never seen numerically at all, but the health resided inside the individuals who are a part of what God is doing.

Don’t assume because you don’t see numeric growth that it’s not healthy.

Let’s talk.


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