Layer 5–Unpacking the Model

The remainder of this essay is an attempt to dig even deeper into the maturation model of the North Central Church.

In “Layer 5,” each element of the tree model is examined in detail:

  1. the five “food groups” that nourish our spiritual growth and development (FOOD);
  2. the five “stages” of faith that ensure our growth is straight and strong (FAITH);
  3. and the five “characteristics of AGAPE” that constitute Christ-like fruit in our lives (FRUIT).

We realize that the pages to follow outline an ambitious agenda for the church, its leadership, and every member. It is a consuming, overwhelming, and daunting plan to grow a God-honoring church and spiritually mature members. We recognize—from the outset—that this agenda is bigger than we are … that we are not equal to the task.

And we wouldn’t have it any other way. It is common these days for churches to set small goals, modest objectives, targets that can be reached easily with merely human effort. But, from the beginning, God has had larger dreams for us than that.

We want to aim high as a church.

“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” (Robert Browning)

Or, as the Apostle Paul said:

Through us [God] spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing…. And who is equal to such a task? (2Co 2:14-16)

So, as you read what follows, we urge you to keep some things in mind:

  1. This is God’s agenda, not ours. We didn’t originate this high and holy calling for God’s church and for every believer. God did that. In the end, he has set the goal.
  2. We’re not in this alone. It’s not all up to us. If God’s agenda is to be accomplished in our church and in our lives, it will be by his power and wisdom and prompting.
  3. This process will take time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Our hopes and dreams for the kingdom will require years to ripen and mature.
  4. One step at a time. We don’t have to arrive right now. We just have to step in the right direction. Today, we make only a start. Eventually, though, God will finish what we begin.

If you’re just looking for a place to “go to church” on Sundays, the North Central Church may not be the place for you. We believe God has bigger plans for our lives than where we spend Sunday mornings. If, however, you believe that God created you to “shine like stars in the universe” (Php 2:15) and that he intends to work through you to make a difference in this dark world, then a church with a bold agenda might be just what the Great Physician ordered.

[Go to the first post in this series.]

[Go to the next post in this series.]

© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.