Here are three additional characteristics of the Healthy Church. Again, you can get more information about this series by checking out the website and podcast of Craig Tackett at www.rhythmva.com.
A Healthy Church is…
…full of individuals who love one another and desire to live and worship joyfully in community If you pull into the parking lot, see Sister Smith’s or Brother Johnson’s car, and all you can think is, “I have to put up with THEM today?”, then turn your car around and go home. We all have our faults, and yours are probably a little worse than you think. (None of us are as like-able as we believe that we are!) Learn to live with one another and love one another in spite of those faults…you know, kind of the way that Jesus loves you?
If we cannot live and worship joyfully together, then it is time to pack up the tent and move the circus to a new location. We cannot be in Christian fellowship without worshipping collectively in Spirit and in Truth (John 4:24-25).
…full of individuals who are “open handed” We often talk about “ownership” among the members of the church. But we don’t own it. We can’t own it. Ownership implies that we can tighten our fists around the wheel and drive the church ourselves.
But only one owner has control, and that is Jesus Christ. He not only owns the church, the committees, the offerings, the pews, the hymnals, and the staff, but He owns us. A healthy church is willing to open its hands to let God take hold of all that we have and all that we do, including our time, our talent, and our treasure.
…full of individuals who are willing to engage one another and willing to be engaged over sin Sin is not a limited issue in the healthy church. We acknowledge it as a reality that we live and deal with every day. If we are sick and keep denying our illness, we only get worse. The only way to truly be healthy is to acknowledge our spiritual “sickness” of sin and open our hands to let Christ pull us back to health.
We are often willing to engage others over sin; but rarely willing to be engaged regarding our own sin. We have to be willing to do both. We have to hold one another accountable, but we must be willing to be held accountable, while acknowledging that none of our sins is any “better” than anyone else’s sin.