I am currently reading a book called “The Emotionally Healthy Church.” In the many ways that I have studied and even talked about Church, I had never seen this designation before.
Big/small, old/new, vibrant/boring, traditional/contemporary, rich/ poor, well maintained/falling apart, Catholic/Protestant…are all designations that are usually made of Churches; but how about emotionally healthy or unhealthy? I think it makes a lot of sense to consider the emotional health of your church.
I think we have an emotionally healthy Church, because I think our staff and ministry leaders are emotionally healthy. For me this means good and honest communication, permission to say the hard things, a high value on confidentiality but no secrecy, no gossip. I think we have an emotionally healthy Church because staff and ministers enjoy being together and we have fun doing the work of the Church. I think we have an emotionally healthy Church because there is respect and affection among the staff and ministry leaders; we trust one another and love one another. I think we have an emotionally healthy Church because our staff and ministry leaders are committed to growing as disciples of Jesus Christ. And whatever is true at the leadership level is going to be replicated at other levels of the Church life. At our Church there is not a lot of gossip, there is a lack of “drama,” complaints are offered and dealt with in discreet and appropriate ways (most of the time). There is no in fighting or factions; we are well on our way to making sure there are no “silo” ministries or “lone-ranger” ministers. Through our ministry and small groups programs more and more people are committing themselves to growing as disciples. Worship is more and more vibrant, less and less people leave early, people are becoming more honest and thoughtful about their weekly Offering, their daily prayer. I think all these things are signs of emotional health and maturity.
This weekend is our annual push for new ministers. Its called “First Serve” and it provides a lot of people with an accessible way to test drive a ministry. I can’t wait to promote it in my weekend message because I know that those who get involved will, among other things, be stepping into really emotionally healthy environments.