How To Have An Unhealthy Church

I’ve learned something about being in a community recently: that if a group of people aren’t fighting together for something, they’ll end up fighting each other. People need a purpose. They need a goal. If you don’t give them one, they will pick one for themselves.

We all need challenges to overcome in life, mountains to climb.

I have signed up for 3 races this summer: The Xterra EX2 Off-road Triathlon, the Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder, and the Mid-Atlantic Super Spartan.

Somebody asked me recently why I participate in these crazy events.

The reason is because I can only grow if I challenge myself. I only get stronger and faster when I must in order to overcome challenges that are greater than I can handle today.

I do it because I want to find my limits, and then destroy them.

When I think about a church community, I think about one of those great ancient galley ships that used dozens or hundreds of people rowing as their propulsion. Momentarily setting aside the fact that the people who worked in them were normally slaves, imagine that your church is one of those ships.

What would happen if everybody just set their own agenda? Rowed when they wanted, however they wanted? At best, the ship would meander in circles, never actually getting anywhere.

If half the crew wanted to go forward and he other half wanted to go backwards, the ship would literally just spin in circles. People on the boat may mistake the motion for progress, but the reality is they’re all just wasting energy. When they wearily recognize all their effort has been for naught, they will naturally start looking for other people to blame. Hello, church split.

The way it reaches its destination is by everyone rowing together, as one person with some guidance from leadership

Without a destination, you’ll never go anywhere.

Without a purpose, you won’t do anything that isn’t comfortable or easy.

Just like I set race challenges for myself, does your church have challenges? Is everyone committed to these challenges? Are these challenges making a difference?

In other words, if your church closed down and never met again, would there be negative consequences, other than you not getting to see people you’re friendly with?

If you want an unhealthy church, don’t have goals. Don’t have a purpose that everybody in the congregation is aware of and given the opportunity to participate in. Just float in the river of existence, dealing with the crises that will inevitably pop up when people starting trying to paddle in different directions.

If you follow that simple direction, your church is sure to be unhealthy, meaningless and eventually die.