Peter Steinke, in his introduction to a handbook for his workshop, “Creating Healthy Congregations,” writes, “The New Testament speaks of the church as a living system – ‘the body of Christ.’ The apostle Paul makes it clear that the body of Christ is a whole composed of many parts, yet functioning as one. The various members and services of a congregation interact much as do the cells and organs of the human body with ongoing interplay of blood circulation, nerve endings, chemical messages and energy sources. The mark of the organic life is a continuing struggle of balance and imbalance. If balance fails, there is sickness. Gross imbalance spells death.”
Health, therefore, is the drive for life, what an organism does to preserve itself, how it responds to challenges, to its integrity and how it adapts to changes. “The same is true for congregations,” he says. “Its health is its response.”
Looking at our church’s handling of our experiment with one worship service instead of the two we’ve had for so long, the response has been great. I haven’t heard anyone complain, instead the reactions have all been positive. “I like it!” “It will be hard to give up the happy feeling of a full church if we go back to two services.” “It’s so good to see all these people worshipping together – there are some I didn’t know!”
I’ve known that our church is a healthy church, but didn’t know just how healthy until we made this change. You are a wonderful example of how the body of Christ is supposed to act, and I’m proud of you! Keep up the good work! As we try doing our Wednesday Kids at the park this summer instead of a traditional Vacation Bible School, may we find more of this same healthy response and work together to make this mission outreach to children a success.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jeff Symonds