The healthy churches are more attractive

Published 5:33pm Saturday, July 19, 2014

By Larry Stover
The Selma Times-Journal

The church has always been the central focus in my life. My father was a pastor in the Church of the Nazarene for nearly 35 years. I grew up in church.  Most of my friends were from the church. I loved all the activities that went on in the church during my entire life.

I have been a part of very healthy churches and a part of some unhealthy ones as well.  Through it all, I realize that a healthy church is very attractive. It has a magnetic congregation.  People want to be a part of it.  These healthy churches are very active in their communities.  Residents of cities and towns, large and small, know about those congregations that are impacting their communities.

Which kind of church are you a part of? I hope that you are as blessed as I am. Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene is a very healthy congregation.

How can you know if your church is healthy or not? Let’s examine some of the characteristics of both the healthy and unhealthy congregation.

Unhealthy churches usually have unresolved problems. They like to “push them under the rug” so to speak hoping that those problems will just quietly go away. That seldom happens! Usually there is tension in the church from unresolved anger or resentment.  Sometimes you can walk into a church and feel the atmosphere and know that there are problems there.

Some of these same churches have factions or cliques in them.  You may know soon after visiting whether or not they are interested in having you in their midst. They might even go so far as to invite you into their clique before another group gets to you join theirs.

Churches with a history of church splits, divisions, and strife seldom make a difference for the Kingdom of God. On the contrary, a healthy church can be used of God to make a difference in their little corner of the world.

In a healthy church, people are genuinely happy to see each others.  It’s more than unity. The healthy church thrives on fellowship.  They worship and learn together; laugh, cry, and pray together; and, travel the journey of the Christian faith together, determined to reach heaven together to join the greatest family of all.

Healthy churches are very forgiving. They understand that the members of the church are not perfect and must learn to apologize when they have done something wrong and forgive when others wrong them. They function with the goal: everything is right between them and God, and everything is right between them and everyone else.

I will admit that healthy churches have problems. In their healthiness, problems are solved; issues are worked out; and, life goes on.

I pray that your church is a healthy church. If not, change things. If it is, you realize such churches are “Simply Beautiful.”

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