Saturday, January 28, 2006

Guest Blog: Pastor Tom Chryst - Healthy Churches



Pastor Chryst at Preachrblog and I have had many discussions on the subject of Church growth, health, and doctrine over the past few months. The result can be found in this guest post he sent me. Be sure to check out his blog.

The Church Doctor - By Tom Chryst

Between my post criticizing The Church Doctor, and my recent conversation with C-Rev. himself, I got to thinking more and more about just what makes a church "healthy".My first answer is that this is no easy question. The approach of the Church Doctor, whichadministers tests and inventories telling what your congregation's "Apathy Quotient" is, andother like nonsense... doesn't seem the right way to go. Of course, this is trying to answer the question about a particular congregation, which is a different question from the state of a particular denomination, or the church in the U.S. or the world as a whole (una sancta). Many layers here.Need I remind us of the false metric of numerical growth or decline? Give me a faithful handfulof believers in a "dying" church in a "dying" neighborhood any day over a church bursting at the seams with thousands of hypocrites. Reminds me of a recent comment by a Lutheran Seminary prof:"remember one of the fastest growing cells in the body is the cancer cell". Quality, not quantity here, is what we want, folks. Of course both would be nice, but where should our focus be?Various commentators will offer opinions, of course, on what makes a healthy church. But most of the "evidence" is anectdotal. "The problem with the church today is [fill in the blank]" Usually, these kinds of statements are short-sighted.There's only one way to fill in the blank. The problem with the church today is SIN. It's nota very exciting answer, but it's the same answer it always has been. And likewise the solutionthat follows - the only solution for sin - is the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ who was crucifiedfor sinners.The church will rise and fall in places and times, and yet Christ's promise is that "the gates ofHell will not prevail against it". Sure, we will have our Elijah moments, when we think, "I'mthe only one left - and now they are trying to kill me too!" But God's whispering voice reminds usthat He alone preserves His church, and that He DOES it.

posted by Out Of Jersey | 7:34 PM

3 Comments:

Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Thanks for the post, Tom. I think you have hit at the heart of the two essential elements which are perhaps the cause of an unhealthy church. The first is, and always will be, until Christ returns, sin.

However, the second, which you proclaimed, is a lack of the gospel message. If sin is a problem of an unhealthy church, then certainly the congregation who never hears the gospel will lack the essential qualities and means to gain health.

There are far too many preachers who want to please their listeners with messages that makes them feel better, and those same preachers lack a strong gospel message which is a message that tells them how to be better.

So if sin is an issue of unhealthiness in the Church, the only thing, as you put it, to cause the church to become healthy is certainly the gospel.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Very good. I agree with him.

6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God bless all of us..

2:59 AM  

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