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Healthy Churches Have Purpose

Greg and Susan Williams
Greg and Susan Williams

Dear GCI Family and Friends,

I invited Grace Communion Seminary (GCS) President, Michael Morrison, to show us how our theological foundation is married to our mission. I very much appreciate the truthful points he shares that we all need to hear as we continue to strive to be healthy churches.

Please encourage your leaders and members to read Mike’s letter. I pray it inspires deep conversations about the mission for your congregation or fellowship group. Healthy Church equals healthy mission.

Greg Williams

The purpose Jesus gave us is to work together on mission to the world.

A few people seem to have taken the slogan “to be the healthiest expression of church we can be” as an excuse to focus on ourselves, on our internal relationships, rather than on the mission Jesus gave to us. Like a nursing home resident might try to be as healthy as possible, considering the circumstances, some of us seem to be simply striving to prolong our days with a minimum of discomfort.

Health is good, but it should not be a goal in itself; we want health so that we can do something else with our lives. We want churches to be healthy so that the churches can do something other than tending to their own health. A healthy church has a healthy mission – or we might say that mission is part of the measure of whether a church is healthy.

Let’s be honest, many of our churches have been in maintenance mode for decades, saving fuel by coasting along, not going anywhere but downhill. What is the alternative to maintenance mode? It is going up the right hill. It is working together to do something bigger than any of us can do on our own. It is reminding ourselves that we are called to sacrifice for others, to be on mission with Jesus.

As God led us to our understanding of Incarnational Trinitarian theology, some of us fell into the trap of congratulating ourselves on having better theology even when it didn’t seem to be having many results in our churches. Yes, we do have better theology, but along the way, some people drew some unwarranted conclusions:

    • Jesus did it all, so we don’t need to do anything.
    • Jesus is already at work in the world, and we can join him if we want to. But if we don’t want to, then don’t worry about it – Jesus will get it done anyway. There is no need for our involvement, so we might as well coast.
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8 thoughts on “Healthy Churches Have Purpose”

  1. Amen, Mike. Your letter is powerful and a welcomed “corrective”. It is so easy to slide into passivty and neglect our God given mission.

    “We’ve strayed from being fishers of men to being keepers of the aquarium”-Paul Harvey

  2. Thank you, Mike! I really appreciate your encouragement to live and share the Good News as we go about living the life of loving others and serving our communities needs.

  3. An inspirational and well-thought out presentation, Mike – well done! Your point – “mission is part of the measure of whether a church is healthy or not” resonates and ties in with the commission Jesus gave the church to make disciples by reaching outside their four walls in love.

  4. Yes more than maintenance ….The story of the 300 in Judges 7 : 5-7 reminds me of two words : alertness and action …

  5. Thanks Mike for reminding us we all are called to help spread the Word, wherever God wills to use us locally and into all the world. God has given us a new understanding that the body of Christ is much bigger than we thought before and has now given us a part to participate in spreading the same gospel of Christ.

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