This week, I’m publishing a series about the kind of “exercise” that helps churches remain (become) healthy. (If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the “introduction” post.) This series goes along with my series from last week called “A Healthy Diet for the Church.”
There are many different types of exercise which go above and beyond the normal things necessary for existence. This series focuses on three such exercises: 1) trusting, 2) giving, and 3) proclaiming.
Obviously, these three are not the only ways that the church must exercise in order to remain (become) healthy. However, these three “exercises” have a few things in common, and these commonalities can help us recognize other “exercises” that will aid the church in remaining (becoming) healthy.
First, the exercises of trusting, giving, and proclaiming are not centered on the self nor are they interested in benefiting the self.
Second, these three exercises are impossible to “do” by one’s own strength.
Third, these exercises move out of the realm of thinking and understanding into the realm of living – real life – actions.
Fourth, the focus of all of these exercises is not a healthy church, but Jesus Christ himself.
This last point is both the most obvious, and also the one that is most overlooked. The church does not remain (become) healthy by focusing on these kinds of healthy activities. Instead, we must focus on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, more and more, in every aspect of our lives.
However, we can look into these areas of our lives and ask, “Are we demonstrating that we are being healthy as the church? Are we trusting God in everything we do? Are we giving our time, energy, resources to those who are in need and not in Christ? Are we proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ even when we are reviled or rejected?”
If not, doing these things will not make us healthy. Instead, focusing on Jesus Christ will lead us into health and maturity and we will do these things – among others. When I say “focus on Jesus Christ,” I don’t mean talking about him or putting his name on our ministries. Instead, I mean giving up everything except for Jesus Christ, even those things we hold dearest… even “Christian” things.
Every group of believers can go through times of healthy living and unhealthy living. The question is, “Are we continually seeking Jesus Christ together – to be completely obedient to him in everything we do?” If not… not just saying it but doing it… then we will continue to move in the direction of unhealthy lives.
What would add to my discussion of exercise for healthy churches?