EIGHT SIGNS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH

1  CONFLICT IS DEALT WITH.

I was not trained at seminary to deal with conflict and I avoided it as much as possible. Wrong. When I learned to walk toward tension rather than away from it, I discovered that it almost always gave us closer relationships. Leaders who do not deal with conflict have unfinished business wherever they look. Paul addressed conflict head-on.

2  PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE PASTORS, ARE VULNERABLE.

The Pharisees lived and talked a lie. Legalism breeds pretense. Fake it–because you’ll never make it. Vulnerability releases grace and creates a safe place. When pastors and leaders are appropriately transparent, it levels the playing field. It closes the distance between the high and mighty and Mr. Normal. Jesus knew how to get close to people. So do good leaders.

3  PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO GIVE.

Generosity is a big clue to joy, a major fruit of spiritual health. Defensive people hold onto what they have while they grab for more. Healthy people hold their life and their possessions lightly and they give themselves and what they own away freely. They believe what Jesus said about his Father, “Give and it shall be given unto you…” In healthy churches leaders don’t beg for money; people ask to give. At Lydia House we emptied out our reserve because of the horrendous water shortage in Uganda. They needed it more than we did.

4  PEOPLE LAUGH A LOT.

The sermon is a great place for humor. It’s important for us to laugh at ourselves. People who take themselves too seriously don’t take the Bible seriously enough. John was the sober one and they thought he was demonized. Jesus was the happy one, and they figured he was a drunk. I want to be like Jesus. If people think you’re high on something, they may be right!

5  MESSAGES RING WITH LIFE.

Chuck Swindoll said, “Preach topics that people go to bed worrying about.” In other words, make it real. If sermons fill the mind but don’t change the behavior, they are missing the mark.

6  THE LEADERSHIP TEAM IS EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY.

As God healed me from an elder brother complex, I found myself feeling lighter and laughing more. This found its way into healthier staff relationships and down-to-earth sermons. We learned how to walk in the light together and share our struggles freely, which increased fellowship, like I John 1:7 promises.

7  PEOPLE HANG.

I was once the guest preacher of an average-size church. The pastor invited me to the back after the benediction, where I shook hands with people–on their way out the door. Really bad idea!. Church was over, and people were ready to leave. It emptied out in seven minutes. In healthy churches the closing prayer means time for fellowship–lots of it. Healthy, happy people love being together. Food makes them stay even longer.

8  SUNDAY LEADS TO MONDAY.

What we do on Sunday impacts how we live the rest of the week. If it doesn’t, why go? We are not playing church. We are in a war, not on a picnic. We are representing the King, who will be returning soon. We have given up our life to follow His mandates. On Monday we carry out the instructions we hear on Sunday.

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