“Healthy Is Scary!”

I’ve been spending the month of January posting my thoughts on community in the church. Let me share one last thought.  A few years ago I was processing some of my pastoral journey with a trusted spiritual guide. At the time, I was frustrated that the church I was working at wasn’t a little bit bigger in size (familiar territory for pastors), even though I was okay with it not being a mega-church. So I said, “I honestly thought that if I planted a church that was healthy – not perfect, but healthy – it would maybe attract  a few more people. I thought that if we were really honest about the real story our lives, taught the word, tried to be on a mission of some kind, and tried to have healthy relationships among the staff and the people – that if we committed ourselves to such things our church would attract more than a few people. But the fact is, it hasn’t attracted more than a few people.” At that moment, my spiritual guide shocked me because he laughed out loud. He laughed and then said, “Healthy is scary! The instant you commit to being a healthy church you’re going to scare most people away from your church.”

That conversation, ringing with laughter, was a total paradigm shifting moment for me. I realized the only options I have when searching for a church community as a congregant or leading a church community as a pastor are:

  1. To create and sustain a church community that will emphasize attracting as many people as possible while dancing around issues of health that might scare people
  2. Or create and sustain a healthy church community that might scare a few people off, but form and develop those who want nothing less than health under the reign of Jesus Christ.

So if you’re looking for a church, or you’re invested in a church, work towards health but don’t think it will attract big crowds.

About Andy Lewis

Andy is an author, pastor, and musician who lives in Santa Cruz California. Currently he serves as lead pastor at Faith Community Church in Santa Cruz
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