Church bulletin blooper: “Is life killing you? Let the church help.” The church secretary was not intending to say that the church could help kill you. However, there are some settings in which life in the church is harmful to people’s spiritual health.
A church will never attain the status of being perfectly healthy. Churches are full of people and consequently will exhibit the health of it members. As such churches will be more healthy or less healthy on a continuum.
So what are some of the traits of a healthy church. A healthy church will value people and their contribution to the larger good of the church family. These churches value traditions that celebrate people. They are places where people can talk freely, not as if people are walking on eggshells. In these churches people can hear strong messages from others without merely reacting to those messages. In these churches values and explicit expectations are consistent.
However, unhealthy churches are characterized by a grim atmosphere where traditions continue which suppress the human spirit rather than set it free. In these churches there reigns a chaotic value system and implicit expectations new members can only guess at.
When churches find themselves in this state, they have a tendency to avoid outside intervention. It is as if everyone knows something is wrong, but no one but the fringe members have the courage to say so. These situations however will not improve without outside help.