Thursday, September 10, 2015

Heart disease in the body of Christ

Does your church have a heart problem? Many do, and that's the reason they have some of the problems they have. My book, The Healthy Community: Moving Your Church Beyond Tunnel Vision was written to discuss this condition and some of the symptoms associated with it. These symptoms include

  • A lack of biblical authority
  • A lack of grace
  • A lack of pastoral leadership
  • A lack of discipled believers
  • A hardened heart.
A chapter was devoted to each of these symptoms, plus there is an additional chapter on a lack of denominational excellence. Too often churches have looked to their denominations for help and found that they were so caught up in their political agendas and so divided by the positions they took on various social issues that they were as unhealthy as the churches seeking assistance.

Many people have found that there were cures available for their heart conditions, and the same is true when a church suffers from the same ailment. Sometimes the cure isn't pleasant in the short term, but it's essential if the patient wants to return to healthy living. In the second section of the book I give three cures for a church suffering from a heart condition.

  • Ask the hard questions. Believe me, these are not simple questions to answer, and a church might be better off not asking them if they are not going to honestly answer them.
  • Pursue congregational health. Again, not as easy as it might sound.
  • Pay the price of change. This is certainly not going to be pleasant for many churches. Sometimes, the price to change is greater than the church is willing to pay, but without making the needed changes the end result is that they church will eventually die.
As I have worked with churches for over three decades I have seen many with the symptoms I've described above. Only a few of them have been willing to pay the price to regain their health, and these now enjoy good ministry in their communities. Most continue to limp alone either ignoring or denying the symptoms of heart disease. Some are now at death's door and will likely close their doors within the next year or two. The others continue doing what they've been doing and wondering why things aren't better.

If your church is suffering from heart disease the good news is that you can turn that around and become healthy again. The bad news is that it won't be easy. But the choice is yours. I think I know which choice would be God's will for your church. but you'll have to decide that for yourself.

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