6 Ways to Contribute to a Healthy Church
I've been participating in the life of a local church for more than four decades. Over the years I've been the pastor's kid, the youth pastor's wife, the children's pastor, a women's Bible study teacher, and an elder's wife.
In all of these roles, I've had the privilege of witnessing the incredible beauty that happens when the body of Christ works together to proclaim the Good News. At the same time, I've also had a front row seat to some of the less-than-beautiful moments that can happen too. In almost every case, where there's been hurt, there's also been gossip.
Despite some of these hurtful situations, I remain an absolute believer that God has chosen His church to be the hands and feet of Christ to a lost and lonely world. One of my deepest passions is to see local churches become healthy growing bodies. Here are six ways that church members can contribute to the life and health of the church.
1. Pray for your church leaders — both the paid staff and the volunteer leaders.
Pray that their fervor — for God and His Word — will increase daily. Pray for wisdom in their leadership and decision-making. Pray for their marriages to be strengthened and renewed. Pray for their kids. Become an intercessor on behalf of your leaders.
2. Give your leaders the benefit of the doubt.
If you hear something about someone in the church, especially someone in leadership, give them the benefit of the doubt. Determine that whatever you "heard" ends with you. And if what you heard needs to be addressed, then go directly to the person it involves. In this way we can honor our brothers and sisters in Christ by following the biblical mandate in Matthew 18.
3. Honor your leaders' commitment to confidentiality.
There's a big difference between secrecy and confidentiality. Secrecy is the attempt to hide information. Confidentiality is the way to care for a person with grace and courtesy. Pastors and elders are oftentimes in a position where they know about deeply personal and private matters that are occurring in the lives of others. That's why our leaders are there. They're there to serve and lead with wisdom and grace.
4. Encourage your leaders with words of affirmation.
You'd be surprised at the burdens your church leaders often bear, and they bear them silently out of their desire to honor confidentiality — and sometimes they're honoring the confidentiality of the very person who is slandering them! Be a positive presence in their lives. Speak words of encouragement.
5. Remember your lay leaders.
Many lay leaders have jobs outside of their volunteer positions in the church. This likely includes the elders. The next time you cross paths with a lay leader at your church, tell them how much you appreciate their personal sacrifice of time and energy. Better yet, invite them to coffee and get to know the leadership that so often serves in hidden ways, "behind the scenes."
6. Serve others with the talents and gifts you've been given.
Are you serving during the week in some way? If not, ask how you can begin serving today.
Throughout the Week . . .
This weekend Pastor Steve Meharg challenged us to be aware of the words we speak, especially in regards to others.
1. Do our words build up or tear down?
2. Are we careful not to speak about someone who isn’t present?
3. What are some other ways we can support the leadership of our church today?