Monday, June 20, 2005

The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective Churches - Habit 3

The third habit is relationships. The author shares a number of stories of good and bad examples of how relationships limit or release our church's growth. He starts with a "pop quiz"..

Q. Whom did Jesus censure?
a) Theives and Prostitutes
b) People who ate cheese
c) Judgemental & Unaccepting people

he he... I like the cheese bit. We do get caught up on the strangest things. Gladden challenges church leaders to confront people who demonstrate unchristlike attitudes. I know I have had the joyous opportunity to help a member here or there drop the "B" and learn to put the "L" or "Gr" in front of their "attitude."
Gladden suggests that many adventist churches need a "Millstone Ministry" where we keep a collection of millstones ready and, according to Jesus' comment about those who offend young people, fasten one to the neck of each rude and inconiderate member. Then lead them to the nearest body of water and give them a shove! Ouch! I guess people would learn to be nice pretty quick... or the church would be empty in no time!
This chapter didn't tell me anything new. Just some good points on an oft-rehashed topic. Why do so many of our members demonstrate such unfriendly natures? Where does it come from? From Christ? Not likely. So, why is it present? Are we so far from our Saviour that we can't even represent his character in our words and actions at church? I'm afraid so. How do we help people who are caught in the downward spiral of "bite-now-think-later"? Is Millstone Ministry the only way? What would Jesus do... I mean it... What would Jesus have us do?
Our church must be a safe place for new people and members alike. Gladden finishes his chapter with four questions:
1. Do we truly want lost people at our church?
2. Are they safe here?
3. Do we truly love and respect one another at church?
4. Are we safe here?

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