Write a book on “Why I’m Finished With the Church Forever” and you will make money. Many of us who love the church and have devoted our lives in her service will probably want to hear what you have to say.
Write a book on “Why I Love the Church” and you end up with a garageful of your efforts. Those who already love the church will “amen” you and critics on the outside will mark you off as deluded.
Whether we are a critic or a lover of the church–or for some of us, it’s a little of both–it’s important to be balanced.
Let’s acknowledge that there are both good and bad churches in the world today. Strong and weak. Churches that ought to be cloned and some that should be euthanized.
For a moment, let’s focus on the churches which are healthy and strong, faithful and loving, redemptive and grace-ful.
The good news is some churches in Scripture got it right. The incident in Acts 6:1-7 provides a wonderful illustration of a congregation that faced up to a crisis in a healthy, Christ-honoring way and bore great fruit as a result.
Let’s use that Jerusalem church as an object lesson.
Ten Things Healthy Churches Do Well– particularly when it comes to dealing with problems.
1) They have problems, too.
Any growing body will have its share of aches and pains.
The Jerusalem church had been basking in the sunshine. All was well. God had sent miracles, new believers were arriving daily, and a sense of contentment settled in upon the leadership. Suddenly, from inside the family, a groan went up. Then it swelled into a chorus of complaints.
In the distribution of food for the congregation, the widows received priority. But for some reason, Hebrew widows were getting the lion’s share to the neglect of the Grecian widows. (We’re told that “Hebrew” widows were part of the native population from Palestine, whereas “Greek” or “Hellenistic” widows were Jews from the Disapora, that is, everywhere across the Roman Empire.)
Did someone there say, “Oh no! We have a problem! What are we doing wrong?” Did they panic? Did anyone jump ship because the presence of a problem must indicate they were failing God?
Not that we can tell.