In Canada it is suggested that a person see their general physician every two years for a physical. It used to be once a year, but with the changes to health insurance the government decided we only need to go through the tune up every two years. An individual is still suppose to be aware of changes in their body and health, and not to wait until the point of crisis to seek out medical attention.
If you are a Christian leader of your church, when was the last time you did a yearly physical on the fruit of your church's ministry? How would you determine if your church was actually healthy? Growing? Would you even know what to do if symptoms of an unhealthy church started to become evident?
Over the last few years I have noticed a trend in some Christian leaders stating :" If I don't notice then nobody else will notice that we have some problems going on here. It isn't that we are in a state of crisis , we just have a few issues that are brewing. The board will take care of it, and I don't need to be concerned. I am sure every church has these issues? Yes, stats are showing no growth on a qualitative or quantitative scale but that happens, right?"
The first step to keeping a church healthy is being aware of the happenings within that can seep into a ministry and slowly create an environment that is unhealthy. It means taking ownership of the problem.
When a person is sick and they are exhibiting symptoms , they first have to acknowledge that they are unwell, need help and then take the next step to make an appointment to see someone. When a church is unwell, it should begin with the leadership falling off the pedestal of pride and realizing that the first step to wellness is swallowing the pill of humility and falling on your knees. Acknowledging the church is hurting and not growing is realizing change needs to happen. Change starts with the leader and the team that leads the people needs to seek help. They should seek out what needs to happen to get back on the road to wellness.
Avoidance, denial and ignorance will not speed up the recovery process. Perhaps it is pride and the fear of failure on the part of the leader that prevents this realization of an unhealthy church, this is when a strong leadership board should advise that it is time to hold all accountable. A sign of strong leadership is having an attitude of accountability, humility and a servants heart to fall on your knees and ask the Lord to show us what needs to happen to chart the path to wellness.
People do not get well by ignoring their illness, and churches do not get well without examining their structures and leadership systems. It is never a sign of failure to admit that you need help but instead it is a sign of strong leadership to realize that you need someone to walk alongside you to give you the encouragement and perhaps provide insight into the next steps.
Perhaps it is time for your yearly physical of your leadership. It might sting a bit and be uncomfortable but I can guarantee that it is far less painful then waiting untll the symptoms spread and create scar tissue that heals very slowly.
Think about who you need to talk to, to share your symptoms and your questions confidentially. Perhaps it is a coach, and remember that reaching out for help is the first step to wellness.
Oswald Chambers shared this message in My Utmost for His Highest: " Ministering as Opportunity Surrounds Us. This does not mean selecting our surroundings, it means being very selectly God's in any haphazard surroundings which He engineers for us." It was gathered from the passage of John13:14.
Taking the menial and commonplace tasks in our lives and seeing them as opportunities to serve others is perhaps a different way to view serving others. Thinking about how Christ used bowls of water, towels, sandals, and simple meals to impact others to change the Kingdom. As I think of my actions the last few weeks, in seeking out new opportunities to serve, it was a gentle reminder that He will engineer the places I am to minister and to whom. My faith should transcend into the obvious, the mundane and even the simplest of tasks and be used in a way to minister to others with a grateful heart. Perhaps we over think the idea of serving and instead of looking at it as a placement of oneself in an organized ministry, we should be just serving and listening and watching during our daily tasks. I still believe it takes intentional thinking and awareness of the needs of others, but sometimes the opportunities are all around us and we really don't need to search them out. There will always be organized volunteering that needs to take place but during the course of the day I am sure we could encourage, support and even lighten another person's load if we really listened for the heartfelt needs of those in our lives. The person in the cubicle next to you at work, the cashier in the check out at the grocery store, the person at the gym that you see on a regular basis. All people who can be impacted by your choice of actions and words. Oswald shares "We need to watch the kind of people God brings around us, and we will be humiliated to find that this is His way of revealing to you the kind of person you have been to Him. Now, He says, exhibit to that one exactly what I have shown to you." Exhibiting grace, mercy, compassion, kindness and love to those in our daily existence will change how we minister to people
in a larger capacity. You don't step into a big crisis without learning how to navigate and walk alongside people in the smaller areas of life. Humble yourself and perhaps this week start watching for those nudges that are telling you to do some foot washing in your inner circle. I guarantee it will change how you view serving others.
I am a Life Coach living in Canada. I enjoy helping people create an awareness of their strengths, their dreams and possibilties.