Marshall Shelley is the editor of Leadership Journal, one of my favorite journals. I can remember as a young pastor getting excited about receiving my quarterly edition in the mail. Of course, I only read LJ for the cartoons — which were some of the best.
In addition to his work as editor of LJ, Shelley has also written and edited several books. One that I just read is “Growing Your Church Through Evangelism and Outreach.” Here is a quote that resonated with me:
“Faith has three essential aspects: the inner life of devotion, the outer life of service, and the intellectual life of rationality. The third area needs lifting, too; all three legs of the stool are essential. We must teach people to pray, to serve, and to think. Jesus said not only, ‘Take my yoke upon you’ but also ‘Learn of me.'”
Pray. Serve. Think. All three are essential to becoming a healthy, mature Christ-follower. You cannot be serious about your relationship with Jesus without incorporating aspects of all three on an increasing basis. The more I pray, the more I want to serve. The more I serve, the more I realize I need to know. The more I know, the more I become aware of how little I actually know. Which leads me to more prayer.
What is true of a healthy, mature believer will also be true of a healthy, growing church. In fact, they cannot be separated. The healthy, growing churches that I have seen all had Christ-followers who were growing in prayer, service, and knowledge. Since the church is a community of people, the connection is not surprising.
Pray. Serve. Think.