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How to help your church become healthy [video]

It would be awesome if every church in the world was a completely healthy and thriving faith community, wouldn’t it? While many churches definitely appear to be in that category, unfortunately not every church is. Regardless of how you define a “healthy church,” most of us can probably name at least one church we know of that’s pretty unhealthy.

But what if the church you serve is an unhealthy place? What if you look around and you’re a part of a mess that you wish you could help clean up?

A few months ago at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference I had lunch with a Mark Eades and a few youth leaders from his team. Mark is a youth pastor in Iowa and together, he and his leaders told stories about their church that are often uncommon of most stories I hear from youth workers about their church. Obviously no place is perfect, but Mark and New Covenant Bible Church are intentionally heading toward health instead of dysfunction.

Over lunch I asked Mark to help those of us who may be in an unhealthy church environment know how we can best contribute to moving our churches back to a healthy place. So he went home and shot this video with another local youth pastor they answered these questions.

  • What is a healthy church ministry?
  • What contributes to your church’s healthy environment?
  • What role do you play in contributing to it?
  • How can other youth workers help their churches move toward being a healthy place?

Above is a video of their responses. I trust it helps enable you to be a blessing to your church community by playing an active role in contributing to your church’s overall health.

QUESTION: If you’re in a healthy church, share your responses to these four questions in the comments below. Let’s help other youth workers who may be struggling in an unhealthy ministry context.


Posted on June 26, 2012

  • Such an important conversation. I think youth workers especially are so excited to just get a job working with teenagers that we either don’t do our homework on a church when we’re looking for a position, or we overlook or rationalize blaring warning signs.

    I’m blessed to be in an amazing church environment. Here are a few thoughts on the questions:

    What is a healthy church ministry?
    So many things that can signify a healthy church, but I’d say that a commitment to Jesus above self among the leaders, a transparency among the staff, and dealing with conflict (because even healthy churches have conflict) in an up-front, loving way.

    What contributes to your church’s healthy environment?
    First and foremost, it’s our lead pastor’s commitment to this. Conflicts among our staff are not allowed to suffer, and he’s not afraid to lose “important” members by doing the right thing in terms of addressing conflict in our church. But we also have a staff that loves to work together to serve Jesus, and I think that bleeds down to the many volunteer teams in our church.

    What role do you play in contributing to it?
    Being a healthy team member. When I put my relationship with Jesus first, take care of my family and myself, and put my teammates and our mission before myself, I contribute to a great environment. When I don’t do that, I just make a big mess.

    How can other youth workers help their churches move toward being a healthy place?
    I think the first step is to be a good team member first. Even if no one notices (or there is push back), do the right thing, lovingly address conflict, and pray earnestly for members of your team who are difficult to work with. Then, lovingly address your concerns with people who can do something about them (i.e., don’t gossip with people in your church, take it to your leadership). And know that there might be a cost, perhaps even your job. Unfortunately, sometimes people in leadership would rather pin the blame on those who are trying to help rather than admit there’s a problem and take steps to fix it.

    • Love this, Benjer! Is it cool if I post this on the LISM Facebook page?

      • Of course!

      • But I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be “conflicts among our staff are not allowed to linger…” in the second question.

  • Great stuff, Benjer! Thanks for sharing.

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