Healthy Churches … Exhibit These Five Habits
1. Have a Future Story
This opening statement in our future story gets me every time I read it S-L-O-W-L-Y.
In 2020, Placentia Presbyterian Church continues to flourish, with membership growing through outreach to the unchurched parts of our community. Our church embraces all people, particularly the emerging generation, families and people from various cultural backgrounds.
Communities who are members of the Universal Church have a future and a hope. The wisdom writer says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” Never more true words can be spoken than today. To be in any church and the Church we have hope in Jesus Christ. It is like a rope that pulls us forward into the future that God has for us.
2. Try New Things
General practitioners of medicine have an interesting phrase that I have heard over the years. It goes like this, “Doctors practice medicine.” It is that word practice. Even science is inexact. It is filled with many trials before anything goes public. What if we took that same approach to ministry? What if we “practiced ministry?” I don’t know about you but I really like that. The world is complex, no argument at this front. So why wouldn’t the church try things: in discernment, worship, discipleship, structure, etc. It would certainly be fun-to unleash the possibilities with a bit more freedom to watch what God does in and through the Spirit.
3. Give Thanks to God for Signs of Transformation
When one of our new interventions lands and scratches an itch, the people of God respond with a simple and profound, “Thanks be to God.” Success is never final and failure is never fatal, because the universal Church is always here until Christ returns to restore all things.
4. Learn from Our Mis-Steps
It is a truism that no person or process is perfect. We are all perfectly imperfect, as I like to say. Our past is for learning purposes only. I am reminded of a line by the famous British reporter for the London Times, G.K. Chesterton, who wrote in response to this question, “What is wrong with the world?” He wrote, “I am.” So, we get up, ask for forgiveness, brush ourselves off, are repositioned in Christ and continue. That is why we need Christ, the Church and one another.
5. Trust God. Be Kind to One Another. Respect All.
Good blogs are no more than 450 words, which is why I combined the last three into one. It is all about God. It seems to me that the remainder of the world is parsimoniously prattling on like a rabid dog. It is a good time to step back. Take a breath. Remember these habits and listen to one another. A good and Godly conversation is one in which all parties at the table bend toward one another and all leave the table slightly changed. This is the essence of the gospel: before Resurrection Sunday, there is Good Friday.
Just a few thoughts …