November 29, 2012

Watching Faith Grow

1 Corinthians 3:5-9

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
—1 Corinthians 3:6


If you’ve ever walked with someone on their journey to faith, you know how long it can take. While some people have dramatic conversions as sudden as turning on a light bulb, most do not. For most people it is a gradual process.

Coming to faith often involves progress toward a tipping point, like on a seesaw. Have you ever walked up on a seesaw? Picture one end of the seesaw representing a position apart from Christ, and the other end representing firm belief in Christ. As you walk up from the end apart from Christ, you gradually reach a tipping point where you are leaning toward firm belief.

In this scenario, I imagine a spiritually interested person needing, say, ten ratcheting “clicks” to get from the one position to the other. Instead of pressuring someone to accept Christ, I’ve found it helpful to listen for the “clicks.”

I hear a “click” when someone makes a comment about their spiritual experience or allows me to pray for them. I hear another when someone tells me they’ll come to worship on Sunday, even if it turns out that they “couldn’t make it.” Each of these minor breakthroughs represents another “click.”

Most “clicks” are not dramatic, but as they happen, the person approaches a point where their seesaw begins to tip the other way. Then a quietly advancing process brings them from unbelief to faith. Whose next “click” are you praying for?

Lord, help us notice the ways you are working in the peo-ple around us. And use us to help bring others to faith. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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