So I know what you all are asking. What can we get the Church Health guy for Christmas? That’s easy, a puppy. However, if you are asking from a Church Health perspective rather than a personal one I do have a list of things I would like to see as we move through Christmas and into the New Year. Ready?
What I want for Christmas for churches:
- I want churches that take the Great Commission seriously. Not just churches who can quote it or hang it on a wall or write a vision statement that includes it. But churches who take seriously Jesus’ call to be disciple makers. I want churches that plan, budget, train, pray and act around the idea of being a disciple making movement.
- I want churches that get the concept of fellowship. Churches that understand that shaking hands during the service and serving coffee after the service are not all there is when it comes to being welcoming and friendly and in building the type of relational community God calls us too. I want churches where folks are known and loved. Where people open their homes and lives to one another. Where the “one anothers” of Scripture aren’t just something the pastor talks about but rather they are lived out in church family.
- I want churches that take responsibility for their communities. That would mean a church that knows their community, has done their homework as to what their community needs and is doing their best to love and serve their communities in real and tangible ways. This will involve more than simply unlocking the door of the building and hoping folks show up.
- I want churches that are marked by joy. Imagine if our services and meetings and interactions with folks outside the walls of our building were marked by genuine joy. How good would that be?
- I want churches that try stuff. Churches that are not afraid to have an idea not work out. Churches who are so wanting to make disciples that they are willing to step outside their comfort zones and try (and fund) new ideas for the purpose of disciple making as opposed to just doing more stuff so the folks inside the walls are comfortable. I would love to hear all the stories of the things that worked and the things that didn’t, but gave birth to different ideas.
What I want for Christmas for Christ followers because after all, we are the church – you and me:
- I want Christ followers who serve. Not just attenders. We were created for so much more than that. We have been given gifts and skills and temperaments and so much more by our Heavenly Father for the purpose of serving others so that they can be drawn closer to Jesus (disciple making stuff). I want Christ followers who live out their God given purpose.
- I want Christ followers who share their story with others. Folks who develop the kind of relationships with those outside the church where they earn the right to tell folks the Jesus story and their own story and how those two stories intersect and the difference that makes. We are called to this. And I want Christ followers who take that call seriously.
- I want Christ followers who love. Everyone. No exceptions. No more talking about “those people who…” Love. In real and tangible ways. So that people (all people) can experience the love of God. Our world need people like that. Our churches need people like that. Let’s be those people.
- I want Christ followers who take their faith seriously. Who practice the Spiritual Disciplines. Who order their whole lives around God and the things of God. Who are willing to be disciple by others. I want Christ followers with growing, vibrant, visible faith.
- I want Christ followers who take disciple making seriously. Who not only look to be fed, but who are willing to feed others. Inside and outside the walls of the building. People who are willing to help others become more like Jesus. I want Christ followers to step up into this call.
There you go. That’s what I would love to see.
Thanks for reading, and have a Merry Christmas everyone.
Director of Leadership Development and Church Health, the Free Methodist Church in Canada