Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Highlights

Reflections

10 Diseases That Make Churches Unhealthy



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Written by Chuck Lawless
Forwarded Message from TRAC President T. Jeyakuma
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From what diseases are your church suffering?

In the 1990s, Peter Wagner published The Healthy Church, a book describing several diseases that churches sometimes exhibit. Some of his descriptions are quite helpful (e.g., koinonitis = excessive, inward fellowship), and the list itself challenges readers to come up with their own descriptions.

Here are 10 diseases I see as I consult with unhealthy churches around the country:

1. Community Disconnect Disease. Churches with this disease meet within a given community, but they do not know that community. Often, church members drive to the church building, meet as “church,” and then drive home—without ever taking note of a changing community around them. In fact, I’ve seen church members with this disease lock their doors as they drive through the community where their congregation gathers.

2. Methodological Arthritis. I give credit to my former student, Kevin Minchey, for naming this condition. The name says it all: this church is stuck in doing things the way they’ve always done them. Change (that is, movement) is painful, and it’s seemingly easier not to take a step forward. What these churches often don’t recognize is that standing still is also risky. Eventually, they will not move at all.

3. The “Grass is Greener” Syndrome. This syndrome is a malady of leaders who are always looking for the next church leadership position. They establish no roots, and their current congregation is only a stepping-stone to the next place. Because they are always looking elsewhere, they miss the present tense blessings of their ministry. And, though leaders think otherwise, a church often recognizes when its leader has this syndrome.

4. Professional Wrestling Sickness. I grew up watching professional wrestling (with my Church of God grandma, no less). Professional wrestling is hero vs. villain, right vs. wrong, good vs. evil—but it’s all fake. The church with PWS talks a good game in standing for righteousness, but hypocrisy is everywhere. And, as in professional wrestling, most spectators watching the show know it’s fake, too.

5. Program Nausea. Churches with Program Nausea try a program, toss it soon, and then quickly try the next one. They never have a settled “organizational stomach” and direction. Members of this kind of diseased church are so accustomed to change that they seldom invest in any program. Why should they invest in what will soon be spit out, too?

6. Baby Believer Malady. This congregation is doing evangelism well, but they have no strategy to grow new believers. Their unwritten, and wrong, assumption is, “As long as you show up for our small groups and worship service, you’ll grow.”  This church disciples poorly and often elevates leaders on the basis of attendance rather than spiritual maturity.

7. Theological Self-Deception Ailment. I am cautious here, lest I leave the impression that theology does not matter. No church with an unbiblical theology can be healthy. TSDA, on the other hand, is characterized by a belief that teaching theology is all that is required to be a healthy church. Teaching theology is critical, but a theology that does not lead to intentional evangelism, disciplemaking, and global missions is not biblical. Indeed, TSDA congregations tend to be classrooms more than New Testament churches.

8. “Unrecoverable Void” Syndrome. Church leaders and laypersons alike suffer from this syndrome, characterized by statements like, “This church will close its doors after I’m gone.” Symptoms include spiritual arrogance and self-righteous anger, though they may also include hyper-spiritual speech  (“This is God’s church, and we’ll see what He does when I shake the dust off my feet”). Church members with UVS fail to realize that God’s church will go on without any of us.

9. Talking in Your Sleep Disease. You may recognize this church. They go through the motions, but the motions lack energy. They meet for worship, yet the singing is lifeless. Even the preaching is lackluster, as if the speaker is monotonously only meeting his obligation. Here is one way to recognize the church with TIYSD: many of the attenders really ARE sleeping!

10. Congregational Myopia. The congregation with this condition is nearsighted, focusing on themselves only. They have no vision for the future, and they fail to see that their current direction will likely lead to further disease and decline. Ask the leaders what their hope is for the church five years from now, and their description will sound strangely like the church in its current state.

What other diseases come to mind for you?

Chuck Lawless currently serves as professor of evangelism and missions and dean of graduate studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on both Twitter and Facebook.

- See more at: http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/ministry-leadership/counseling/20376-10-diseases-that-make-churches-unhealthy#sthash.BY6ZHiV8.dpuf

 

3 Phrases Christians Should Quit Relying On

Forwarded Message from TRAC President T. Jeyakumar

(Source : http://jaysondbradley.com/2013/01/06/3-phrases-christians-should-quit-relying-on/)

Sometime I cringe when I listen to Christians talk (myself included). Here are a couple phrases it wouldn’t hurt to hear less.

1. “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.”

Watch your mouthWhen someone’s going through a rough time, it’s a struggle to say the right thing. But it is always appropriate to say nothing. In fact, Scripture encourages people to “mourn with those who mourn.” (Romans 12:15 ) You cannot rub the salve of magic words on someone’s hurts to make their pain go away.

If you absolutely have to say something, make sure it isn’t philosophically empty, spiritual nonsense. Telling someone that “God never gives you more than you can handle” is wrong on many levels.

  • It’s not biblically accurate: You’re going to have a hard time finding this little gem in the Bible (or any similar sentiment for that matter). I am convinced that Scripture is  full of people who find themselves at the end of what they can handle.
  • It isn’t appropriate: Even if it was true, at the point that a loved one is confiding in you about some terrible trial they’re going through, they feel they’re dealing with more than they can handle. This platitude comes off as painful and dismissive.
  • It’s just dumb: People go through more than they can handle all the time. Whether it’s the loss of a child or a slow death from cancer, people are going through things you can’t possibly imagine. Would you tell Jewish prisoners at Buchenwald that “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle?”

2. “God told me . . .”

There’s no question in my mind that God speaks to us. What I do question is how accurately we receive it. After spending many years leading worship in a Pentecostal church, I am convinced that much of what we attribute to God is our own internal dialogue.

There are many problems with saying, “God told me . . .”:

  • It prohibits conversation: What can you say when someone says something silly and emboldens it with “God told me?” Are you supposed to respond with “No, he didn’t.” Attributing things to God is one of the largest conversation killers imaginable—the ultimate trump card.
  • It’s hyper-spiritual: In the Christian world, there’s not much more you can do that creates spiritual one-upmanship than implying a conversational relationship with God. Truth is, in twenty years of ministry, the people who’ve attribute every thought they have to God have been some of the least spiritual people I’ve known.
  • It’s often a breach of trust: The impressions and thoughts that I occasionally feel come from God are spoken to me. It’s sort of like two lovers sharing intimate pillow talk and then one of them blabs every cherished word to everyone they know. It cheapens that communion. Things spoken in secret don’t become more profound when shouted in public. In fact, speaking them often kills all the motivation for follow through.

Trust me, if God’s spoken to you, it’s valuable whether anyone else knows or not.

3. “I’ll pray for you.”

This is kind of a tricky one. Prayer is one of the most important things a Christian can do. But there are moments where, “I’ll pray for you” doesn’t seem appropriate.

  • It’s a commitment: The offer to pray for someone is sacred. If you have no intention of praying, or even if you just lack the wherewithal to follow through, it’s best not to make the commitment. The plus side is that your prayers are valuable even if the person your praying for doesn’t know (maybe even more valuable).
  • It doesn’t take the place of action: Someone diagnosed with cancer needs your prayers, but they may also need meals, childcare, or financial help. To promise to pray for someone while neglecting the tangible ways you can show you God’s love is heartbreaking. By all means pray, but invest some time and effort too (it might actually be someone else’s answer to prayer).
  • Pray later, but pray now: One thing that makes “I’ll pray for you” a cop-out is that it’s future tense. It adds someone’s care to your to-do list. You want to reach out to someone? Pray for them later, but pray for them now, too. I’ve never asked anyone if I could pray with them and had them tell me, “No.” But even if they do, so what? Get out of your comfort zone and pray now.
 
Written by Chew Kim Seng   

 
Written by Chew Kim Seng   

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