So, stunted-growth Christian, why are you living like you're going to live a thousand years? There is a time for children to push off the floor of the shallow end to begin treading water in progressively deeper water.
Second Assembly has two young families small groups. One group is trying to bring the gospel to bear on life through conscientious, faithful Bible study while the other prefers to watch an endless parade of parenting tips and techniques DVDs. The latter group, I would suggest, are living as though they have a thousand years of earthly life in which to grow. They are in no hurry; spiritual growth can wait for the empty nest years or even the retirement years.
Or can it? Steve Brown is correct, "There is nothing wrong with any local church that can't be fixed with a few funerals." But churches should not have to put off growth until some of its people have died off. That's just tragic, pure and simple.
Family Systems Theory identifies five years as the lifespan of a generation. If that is the case, and I think a good case can be made that it is, then we ought to be planning towards true gospel-centeredness in our churches within a maximum of five years. Otherwise, the gospel gets assumed (see J. Mack Stiles' Marks of the Messenger), and that is dangerous. Yes, God is sovereign. Yes, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. Is God content for you not to grow? NO.