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Forcing Us to Grow

Let’s talk about making that real lasting investment in our communities, and making it outside of our church.  (Catch-up with the introduction HERE.)    I love  MY  church,  THE  church, and the  calling of the church.  However, sincerely  believing that doesn’t mean that the Church Can Do Everything, and it  Helps to Make our Message Real.  The other great side-effect of serving in an uncomfortable place is it Forces us as Leaders to Grow.

When we take ourselves of the comfort our churches afford us, we begin to see all kinds of discipleship happen in our own lives.  I know what your thinking… “Where are you getting this churches lead to comfort talk?”

I believe that when all our interaction with people is within the confines of our Christian environments, that we become separate from the real lives of so many around us.  We actually begin to exists in environments we can explicitly control, and when we control the environment of our interactions we can easily grow comfortable.  When we step outside of those things we can control, then we are forced to be hands and feet for a gospel message to those that need it the most.

It’s time that we make personal growth and discipleship a priority, and just as we encourage people to serve in our areas of ministry; we need to back it up with our own service in their lives.  Don’t believe the myth that all your personal growth will happen within the context of your local church.  You can and will grow as a leader and a believer by taking the reality of the gospel outside your church walls and into your community.


Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Jonathan Williams · January 26, 2012

    You are tackling some very interesting concepts and ideas within this series of post.   The idea of how the Church as the bride of Christ and as individual believers fits into our communities is complex.   What does scripture say about our rolls as individual believers?   John 17 and Romans 12 both give us direction and guidance.   We are instructed to be out and serving in the world but we are equally warned not to become part of the world and its evil desires.   Personally I almost got caught in a trap with Softball.   My oldest daughter (9) is about to start her 7th softball season, she started playing at 3 years old.   She loves softball and I love coaching softball.   I ve had many awesome opportunities to share my faith and influence families through softball. Several families are now active in local churches due to relationships fostered in the stands during practice and games.    It has been an awesome experience but it has also been an equally challenging experience.   As a family we have been persecuted and mocked because we refuse to play games or practice on Sunday s and Wednesday. We ve stood our ground as Christians and that made us stand out. My daughter has been in tears because she has missed games and practice and has been benched due to our commitment as a family.   There have been many times I was tempted to give in and go with the flow but then God reminded me how does that make me salt and light (Matthew 5)?   People have seen our commitment and  know our faith is real.    They see Jesus through our lives.    

     You can grow your faith outside the walls of the physical church but you can not grow in faith outside the confines of the Body of Christ. The key is finding the proper balance.  
    Are you willing to hold your church members to a higher standard?   Are you willing to ask them to take a stand?