Church Health – Jesus Died To Make Us Nice – Part II

I shared with you a personal oddball church story in my previous post to illustrate a point. In my experience far too many churches, and para-church ministries, are not healthy because they have this strange commitment to “being nice” as the core value in all human interactions. By “being nice” I mean the organization is completely conflict averse – a  culture where the most important value is to never, ever have conflict, and a culture where everyone  works very hard to always, always, be nice to everyone. This inevitably turns into a ministry culture where 1) everyone says what they think people want to hear rather than what they’re really thinking and feeling and 2) appropriate conflict, that can foster reconciliation in strained relationships or introduce needed critiques of the organization that can make it stronger, are stamped out quickly. Sadly this kind of “being nice” inevitably stamps out health. I’ve been in far too many ministries that function as if “Jesus died to make us nice!” – as if niceness was supposed to be the main outcome of discipleship to Christ. Last time I checked Jesus didn’t die on the cross and rise from the tomb just to produce a bunch of evangelicals who know how to be nice. Don’t get me wrong, nice is nice but never at the expense of being real and “speaking the truth in love.” So when we’re talking about church health, I truly believe that a church, from top to bottom, needs to be authentic and honest more than nice and disingenuous.  I’d love to hear you comments?

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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2 Responses to Church Health – Jesus Died To Make Us Nice – Part II

  1. Ruth Orlando says:

    This really spoke to my heart as I re-read this blog entry…I was struck by your words that we must “speak the truth in love”. This is to be my goal…Jesus said some hard things is love and He is to be my example. It seem hard for me as a people pleaser, but I am learning to speak truth with the Spirits help. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Abby says:

    I thought a lot about this one Andy and I kept coming back to the early church. Many of the historical counsels that took place, most famously between Peter and Paul (regarding the necessity of the practice of circumcision for gentile believers, if I am correct) would be classified as a conflict. Knowing what we know about both of these first generation church fathers, they were both stubborn and passionate for Christ and had differing opinions of what faith in practice might look like. Though it’s impossible to know what the typical discourse of our early church patriarchs might look like, we do know that our faith traditions and practices have been defined and refined because of them. We are like them in essence, in our responsibility to the next generation of believers, to further define the faith life (in accordance with the scripture). So, by this early demonstration what I observe is that it is absolutely imperative that we engage our differences (no doubt there will be anger, that is our nature) the challenge as Ruth said is to not be mastered by our passions and “Speak the truth in love”

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