Is the church you’re leading emotionally healthy? How do you tell if it is or isn’t?
5. Healthy new churches will also avoid triangulation at all levels.
Any two people will not feel the need to pull a third into a conversation. If triangulation is resisted at the staff and volunteer leadership levels, it will be modeled to the entire congregation. Nevertheless when people are involved, you’ll always find attempts at triangulation. The key is to confront it, and avoid being drawn into it.
6. In a healthy church family, there will be room for people to experience pain without the leaders of the church rushing in to save them.
They will recognize that faith has seasons, or stages. Some people are in the stage in which they need rules, regulations and tight boundaries. Others may be in a place of questioning, where they need room to move back and forth across the threshold of faith. Still, others have a mature faith that is far beyond focusing tightly on rules and regulations. All have to live under one roof. Leaders who are sensitive to this will walk the fine line between rigidity and chaos.
7. Healthy churches will believe in their church family and see its positives.
They might say, “Of course we are messed up. But on our better days, we manage to reflect the image of Jesus, at least a little bit.” As a congregation, church leaders will understand what they are good at and where their weaknesses lie. They will maintain a healthy level of objectivity about the church they serve.
8. Finally, a healthy congregation will have members who utilize each other for genuine feedback, not as crutches.
In a church where the leaders are well differentiated (our ability to be objective and separate our feelings and thoughts from the environment that shaped us), genuine feedback is far more likely than in a church where too many enmeshments have occurred. The lack of genuine feedback has been the downfall of many a charismatic church pastor. Every leadership team needs to have the strength to be honest and open with those in the highest positions of influence.
I urge you to spend some time studying these eight signs both by yourself and with your leadership or launch team. How does your church fare? What can you do to improve in two or three of these areas? Start making a plan to improve.
This is an excerpt from a free eBook, Can’t We All Just Get Along: Family Dynamics in the Church, by Paul Williams. To download it and other eBooks geared to church planters, visit Exponential.org.