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Building Healthy Churches

I have written in a previous blog that as a Cabinet we went to a Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) workshop.  As we continue to live in the “Exodus Project” we are consciously seeking to invest prayer, time, energy and learning to energize and equip local church to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”  In conjunction with HCI, I am reading Bob Farr’s new book Renovate or Die.  I commend it to you for its practical helpfulness. In Renovate or Die, Bishop Robert Schnase writes the eleventh chapter  entitled, “Overview: Changing the Conference Culture.”  He writes: “A church consultant began a teaching session with the provocative statement, ‘God doesn’t care whether your congregation thrives or declines, lives or dies.’  God cares about whether the transforming truth of Jesus Christ changes people, and changes the world through them, and God will gladly use our congregations for that purpose or work around our congregations for that purpose.”  Bishop Schnase goes on to comment, “Congregations are not ends in themselves.  Local churches are particular expressions of the body of Christ existing to further the mission that we see revealed in the life, death, and resurrection” (Bob Farr, Renovate or Die, p. 104). I think God does care whether our churches thrive or decline, live or die.  But I take the basic point as true.  My way of putting it is that churches are not to be the object of our love.  They are an instrument of God’s love.  Outwardly focused churches driven by the winds of the Holy Spirit thrive as they engage in the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Churches that inwardly focus solely to take care of each other die.  The church doesn’t have a mission.  The church is a mission post of the advancing kingdom of God. It is an instrument of God’s redemptive mission to this world.