Healthy Church Rx: Caring

Last week I wrote a bit about church health and the place it plays in the church’s vision. We noted that church health is what our goal needs to be above other goals. Church health, when properly pursued, should yield a vibrant ministry.

A couple of presuppositions to stress:

1) Our ultimate goal is the glory of God in all things. The Westminster Shorter Catechism, question #1, captures it well. What is the chief end (or purpose) of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Our ultimate goal, even in church health, is God’s glory.

2) Church health, or any other blessing, is all of God’s mercy and grace. I’m not trying to present formulas for success. Such as, we do “x” and God delivers “y” automatically. Like all of the Christian life, it’s all of God’s mercy.

With that said a memory device I use to pray for church health is the acronym “CREW”. Being in an Air Force community like Warner Robins, acronyms come naturally now! What does CREW stand for? CREW stands for Caring, Reaching, Equipping, and Worshiping.[1]

A healthy church needs to be a caring church. We need to take seriously that we are the body of Christ. We are connected. When one suffers, we all suffer. When one rejoices, we all should rejoice. We need to be praying for one another, seeking to meet needs, and helping to bear one another’s burdens. As Paul writes in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (ESV)

A truly caring church will not only support and encourage but will also, when the need arises, seek to correct. We should care enough about the body and relationships to encourage through admonishment at times. Proverbs reminds us that “faithful are the wounds of a friend” so we need to earn the right to speak loving truth into each other’s lives when the need arises. The church sometimes has to exercise church discipline as a means to shepherd her people. This is an aspect of Biblical caring.

All this is to say that to be a caring church we need to be connected. That’s one reason we have small groups and LIFE groups at HLPC. They are opportunities for connection and caring. It’s hard to do life together, so to speak, when the only time we see one another is on Sunday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30 (or 11:40¸you get the idea). Church health demands we pray for and work toward being a caring church.

Next week: Healthy Church Rx: Reaching