By David Lee, BCM/D Executive Director
It is that time of the year when people’s attentions turn to “getting healthy.” We start exercising. We say “no” to dessert stuff and “yes” to green stuff. We know that staying with it is hard work. Most of us will “drop balls” along the way. Yet, collectively we want to take the journey, because we want to get healthy.
The beginning of the year is a good time for churches to think about “getting healthy,” too. Churches can develop bad habits. Things change in the body of Christ just as they do in the human body. Those changes require that we make changes in our lifestyles. Our world changes, too.
Start the journey toward “getting healthy” as a church by asking good questions and seriously seeking good answers.
• How are things “really?” It is important that we take a snapshot of how things are “right now.” It must be an honest assessment. It does us little good to look at things as we want them to be, if we are not willing to take a hard look at how they really are today. I guarantee you that things are not just like they were a year ago or two or three years ago. In fact, things may be dramatically different in the beginning of 2012 than they were two months ago. Be realistic about where you are “right now.”
• What is our purpose? What is our goal? How you approach these questions is so important. For example, a wrong question is, “How can we get more people to come to our church, sit in our seats, and put money in our offering plates?” If we are honest with ourselves, too often this is our unspoken purpose or goal. A better question is this. “What will it take to reach our community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” Health comes when we establish an outward focus rather than an inward focus. There is something that happens when we stop making it about us or about our survival, and start making it about those we are called to reach.
• While leaning on God’s promises and being realistic about our resources on hand, where can we have influence and make the greatest impact? I am one who dreams big. I am also one who understands that not every church is going to become a mega-church. I do, however, believe that every church can become an impacting church. The key is to find a healthy balance between realistic dreaming and a God-sized dream.
• What are the one or two things we could do consistently and well in 2012 that could make the greatest impact on the kingdom of God in the places we are called to serve? In our attempts to get healthy we are prone to try to do too much too quickly. The result is usually pain and discouragement mixed with disappointment. It is better to work effectively at one or two things that we can do well, than it is to try to tackle more than we can handle.
• What has changed around us and within us that impact where we go next? Most of us find comfort in routines. Routines are usually familiar and make us feel safe. Routines are not all bad, but sticking with a routine while things are changing around us may cause us to miss out on some opportunities God has presented. I highly recommend that each church begin the New Year with a thorough analysis of your ministry field. You will be surprised at how things have changed. I guarantee you that you will also find new open doors of ministry.
There is no quick-fix way to get healthy. There is no “magic pill.” “No pain, no gain.” To use another over-used phrase, “A journey begins with the first step.” I urge you to take that first step toward getting healthy in 2012—both you and your church.