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Is Your Church A Healthy Family?

 

Dear friends,

         What is a healthy Church?  Is your church a healthy church family?  Is it functional or dysfunctional and what does this mean anyway?  If you could change your church family, how would you?  Do you want your church family to be healthy and , if yes, are you willing to do what it takes, as part of this family, to make it this way? Are you willing to do what it takes to make you, as part of the body of Christ, as healthy as God wants you to be?  Are you willing to do the work necessary and take responsibility for whatever God has placed before you, whether this means that you are a Missionary, Pastor, Elder, Deacon, Worship leader, Administrative staff member, Youth pastor, Sunday School teacher, Usher, and a hundred other ministry positions you hold, including, you, the average Joe that sits in the pew.???

          I see the church (as perhaps you do) as a familyWe oftentimes call our local congregations our church family.  We have family picnics, family outings, family seminars, and even a Christian ministry called “Focus on the Family.”  Certainly, most of us feel as if our church is an extension of our immediate family.

          So let me ask you a question.  If you could know what constitutes a healthy family, doesn’t it make sense that you would also know what makes a healthy church?  If you could know the characteristics of a healthy family and what kinds of families produce healthy children, could this not also help us identify what characteristics make up a healthy church and which churches produce healthy members?

         From my studies as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have learned that healthy families start from the top down; they are directed by healthy parents. They are open, allowing for communication about a wide range of positive and negative ideas, emotions and feelings. They promote communicating to each other and enjoyment in each other’s presence.  They have solid boundaries, allowing others to come in, while still maintaining a sense of togetherness and uniqueness. A healthy family promotes a sense of belonging, yet they allow for autonomy. In these families people are free to be themselves with the understanding that with this freedom comes the responsibility to be respectful toward each other. Individuals are allowed to make mistakes and failure is seen as an opportunity for learning and growth. These families teach their children about God, what He expects from us, and how we can reach out and be responsible members of our communities, nation and world. Healthy families are therefore a great testimony.

           By using the family as an illustration for the church, we can begin to understand the qualities that are necessary for health, not only in our families, but in our church families also.  If our church bodies take on these healthy characteristics then we can go and worship God, in His house, with confidence that we will be safe, accepted, challenged, disciplined, and loved just the way we are. 

                                                  Striving toward health,

                                                  Paul