How Christians Grow: Gospel + Safety + Time

Ray Ortlund is a pastor with whom everyone should be familiar. He is a gift to the church at large and blogs at The Gospel Coalition (

One of his posts a while back proposed a simple, but genius formula for how people grow. I wanted to share it with you because I want this to be the formula not only for our church, but for my family, friendships, etc.

Here is the formula in Ray’s own words

GOSPEL + SAFETY + TIME.  It’s what everyone needs.  A lot of gospel + a lot of safety + a lot of time.

GOSPEL: good news for bad people through the finished work of Christ on the cross and the endless power of the Holy Spirit.  Multiple exposures.  Constant immersion.  Wave upon wave of grace and truth, according to the Bible.

SAFETY: a non-accusing environment.  No embarrassing anyone.  No manipulation.  No oppression.  No condescension.  But respect and sympathy and understanding, where sinners can confess and unburden their souls.  A church environment where no one seeking the Lord has anything to fear.

TIME: no pressure.  Not even self-imposed pressure.  No deadlines on growth.  Urgency, but not hurry, because no one changes quickly.  A lot of space for complicated people to rethink their lives at a deep level.  God is patient.

This is what our churches must be: gentle environments of gospel + safety + time.  It’s where we’re finally free to grow.

Wherever you are on your spiritual journey, I hope that you will find these three elements of growth available for you at Creekstone Church.