Friday, December 30, 2005

7 marks of a healthy church... 1/7

Robert Warren's The Healthy Churches' Handbook was a good read this year. Insightful as it was resourceful. I am wanting to keep hold of some of the key points and emphasis - here seems as good a place.

He identifies 7 marks of health within church that were revealed in research to churches that were 'growing'. So here they are in no particular order.
"Outward-looking focus. These churches were typified not by concentrating on their own life and concerns but by a practical care for the local context, the whole of life and the world in which we live. They are marked by a capacity to enjoy life and feel the pain of the struggles in our world."
Warren, R (2004) The Healthy Churches' Handbook. Church House Publishing

I've got a feeling that this is more than a once a year 'mission' thing but an ongoing day by day struggle. I've got a feeling that this is more than singing some songs on Sunday but relying on the fair trade stall, and the MPH bands at the back as our social engagement. I've got a feeling that this is more than 'bob a job mission' washing cars and gardening at weekends. I've got a feeling that this is more than 'creating a cosy sub-culture of worship that is more about eye-candy and fuzzy warm feeling amoung the candles' and thinking we're engaging with our culture.

I've got a feeling that this is all about being church that in all things shares the pain and joy of community.


Kathryn said...

Yup...though there are churches where even the "not justs" would be a welcome sign of awakening. Having read "Healthy Churches" earlier this year myself, I was tempted to phone for the ecclesiastical undertakers.
Oh dear. Sorry to sound so downbeat in your comments's just that ever open gulf between aspiration and reality that I find myself peering into once again :-(

Gordon said...

sorry Kathryn!