Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

Feeling the Pain? You Might Be Growing

Three years ago, I walked into the church like a starving man on Thanksgiving Day. I wanted to grow, I wanted to grow younger, I wanted soooo many things for the Kingdom of God. Some things I prayed for but didn’t understand, some other things I thought I understood, but never prayed for.

I was a mess. Honestly, I’m still a mess, but it’s okay, I like messy.

By the grace of God (probably despite me most days) we have seen God do some amazing things. We’ve seen a disciple-making culture take root. We’ve seen adults come to Christ that has changed entire families, and we’ve seen our community step way outside of their comfort zone.

I feel confident saying; our community is growing. Spiritually, emotionally, and in numbers – we are growing. Three years ago this is exactly what I prayed for. And I’m growing too, I’m much slower now then I was when I started. I’m more intentional, and I see God in more places than I ever have. All of it is awesome.

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But, here is the thing, no one told me that growing would hurt so much.

Growing hurts, and I underestimated the pain of that whole process. The crazy part about it is that it hurts everyone. Even the people who are new to the congregation (in the last three years) feel the hurt of growth.

Because when we grow we can’t do things the way we used to, and the systems that worked then may not work now. Even my wife (who has been a tremendous champion on the entire journey) said to me the other day, “I just don’t like not knowing everyone.” That is the perfect example of growing pains. What once was can no longer be.

To overcome the pain of growth, we must see the reward of the mission.

I think that is why mission statements are the most important thing in our lives and in our organizations. Mission statements become the “why” for growth, and without the “why” I can’t imagine the growth would be worth it.

Our mission statement and even my personal mission statement is the catalyst for why I make a lot of decisions. If I didn’t have anywhere to grow into, I’d probably stop seeing the need for growth. And while we don’t always think about this in terms of our personal lives, I would suggest that it is just as true.

Chances are good your life is different this year than last. It is probable that your life is different today than it was yesterday. The question I would encourage you to wrestle with is this:

Are you growing into your mission despite the pain, or have you stopped growing in efforts to fight the pain? 

How you handle the pains of growth will quickly determine the success of your mission.

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