Healthy Churches Need Change Too

Church health is a popular topic these days. The idea is that if a church is healthy it will grow and fulfill it’s mission. If it is sick it will not be able to accomplish much. A church’s overall health is a key to growth and effectiveness. Healthy churches need to be open to change as well as unhealthy churches.

Even ministries that are working need to be evaluated for effectiveness. H. DALE BURKE in his book, “How to Lead and Still Have a Life” offers several keys to this process and why even healthy churches need to change:

Our world is constantly changing. Whether we like it or not, rapid change is a part of life in the 21st century. This is the world Jesus has called us to reach.

Our mission is yet to be accomplished. Jesus calls the church to go into all the world with the good news of grace. According to the parable of the lost sheep, even if 99 percent of the culture is being reached, we should do whatever it takes to go after the final 1 percent.

Our people are constantly changing. Every generation and every culture demands change, especially today. The message and the mission should never change, yet our methods must flex to remain effective.

Scripture gives us function but not forms. One reason the first-century church grew so rapidly across cultural lines was that Jesus did not give the disciples a formula for “doing church.” The mission and message and values of the kingdom were crystal clear. The methods, the forms for “doing church,” were left vague for good reason.

Change is easier when you are healthy, not unhealthy. If change is prompted by a crisis or severe decline, the congregation is prone to be suspicious of leadership and the new direction proposed. After all, why trust the leaders who let things fall into such disrepair?

Creativity should always flow from the children of the Creator. Change should be the norm in light of our spiritual DNA. After all, we are created in the image of God and born of his Spirit and indwelt with his presence.

Every ministry has a natural life cycle and will eventually die unless it is reborn from within. Churches are born with a pioneer spirit, a lust for adventure, a faith willing to be stretched. They see a need for a new expression of the Body of Christ, and they must innovate to find new expressions for the future.

What needs to be changed or modified in your church’s setting to keep the church on the right path and to stay healthy? If we don’t make those needed changes our churches can drift toward being unhealthy.

Keep the Son in Your Eyes,

Mike James

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