This week I was listening to a church leader describe a prime value his church staff together hold. They describe this value in a simple phrase:they call it “Heart for the house.” The phrase speaks to the loyalty, honor and single-mindedness they hold for their church.
The question, “How’s your heart for the house?” is a question their church leadership, staff and volunteer staff ministers ask themselves from time to time. It is always the question before someone is hired (always from within), promoted, or given a new job. “How’s your heart for the house?” is part of the challenge posed whenever members are being challenged to get involved, find a ministry or join a Small Group. Even when it comes to stewardship and tithing, the question they ask one another is, first of all, “How’s your heart for the house?”
It’s a good question. It’s a question that could be helpful for any family, for any community, and most definitely for any church community.
These weekends of Lent we have been talking about emotional health (and its connection to spiritual health). Meanwhile, I have also been thinking about and reading about (and blogging about) emotional healthy churches. (Take a look at some of the previous posts.) Churches large and small, new and old, Catholic and Baptist and everybody else all have some measure of emotional health (or they don’t). Unfortunately, the larger Church which we are part of is currently experiencing much emotional distress. Hopefully there is growth and grace through the experience, but it is definitely a difficult time for many parishes and schools.
What about our parish, our local church community here in Timonium? How are we doing with our emotional health? This is our house, our spiritual home and family; how are we doing and how can we tell?
How is our heart for this house?
Some of it is about spirit and service, one measurable the other intuitive. Some of it is quality and commitment or the quality of our commitment. And some of it starts with leadership. How clear are we in our core values, in our mission and in our sense of purpose? Some of it begins with me. How is my heart for the house?
The question is, I suppose, a series of questions I need to be asking myself, first of all, and then my associates and staff. Here are a few…
1. Are we surrendered to what the Lord is doing and going to do here in Timonium? Are we going where the Lord is blessing at the expense of everything else, starting with our own pride and pet projects? Are we constantly on the lookout for his blessing and the path forward he is giving us?
2. Do we have a passion for serving the Lord in this place? Would we rather do this than anything else? Does our work here engage our intellect and imagination as well as our heart?
3. Are we working in a selfless way? Is our effort really for the greater glory of God?
4. Are we growing in our commitment to core values, staying true to who we want to be and what we’ve said we’ll do? Are we focused and disciplined in our efforts?
5. Is our mutual respect and admiration and affection growing?