"If it’s healthy it grows!"
Most of you are parents or grandparents, we can relate to numerous Dr. visits, well examinations and the like. As we know if our child is healthy, they will grow, we will need to buy larger shoes, coats and clothing for them, and if you’re the parents of teenagers, they will eat you out of house and home as they grow. Only when children aren’t healthy, will there be a concern of their growth. Naturally, all children get sick with common illnesses, but they would be able to fight these off sometimes with prescriptions and be back on their way to maturity.
Churches are the same as children, if a church is healthy it will grow, if a church isn’t healthy, it won’t grow, it’s really that simple. Our Lord Jesus Christ bears this out with numerous parables of the blessings of healthy fruit trees, vineyards and soil types that receive seeds. Our Lord and probably more so, St. Paul deals with healthy and unhealthy churches. In many ways St. Paul was a church doctor that assisted churches like those in Corinth, Thessalonica, Ephesus and Rome overcome their difficulties and get on the track to be healthy. Luke praises and notes the church in Berea, in which members ‘who were more noble of character, “searched the Scripture daily,” to see if what was being taught to them and what they practiced was in accordance with God’s Word. Needless, to say the Church in Berea was healthy. Unhealthy churches like the one in Corinth or even the one in Galatia were infected by ‘bullies’ and false teachers who tried to undermine the Gospel and Paul’s message. If one is familiar with St. Paul, he doesn’t beat around the bush, but firmly by God’s Word calls out the unhealthy cells in each church body as his letters bear out. As you read through this reflect where you and St. Peter’s is!
What does a healthy church look like? In the recent book, “Built on the Rock,” by the LCMS Rev. Ted Kohlberg, he explains that healthy churches that can overcome difficulties, disagreements and key congregational issues all have 40% of more of their worshiping adults in Bible Study. He then shares that unhealthy churches, that cannot overcome issues and problems all noted having less than 20% of their worshiping adults in Bible Study. The reason for the function and dysfunction of these churches is obvious, the spiritual maturity of their members and leadership. This marking holds true no matter the age, the location, size, number of staff members and funding of each congregation. What does a healthy church look like?
Healthy churches are where the leadership, Pastor and members are all on the same page. It’s been noted that in recent studies that churches that grow the fastest 35% of members are all pulling together.
Healthy churches offer worship services which members find meaningful. This is reinforced by the previous mentioned studies by Rev. Kohlberg.
Healthy churches offer a variety of Bible Studies for each age group.
Healthy churches have caring and loving relationships and stress fellowship. May by God’s strength we continue to be healthy, wrapped in His Word, His Sacrament and His redemption so that we bear fruit in His name and are a light to those around us. In Christ, Pastor Mews.