Monday, October 29, 2007
Healing, Growth and the Church
Believers Sharing Life
A very influential book in 2007 was called, Reveal . It was published by The Willow Creek Association and explained at their last Leadership Forum. (See the Seasoned Believers blog for more on the book.)
Willow decided to test their philosophy by sending out a survey to several hundred members of different WC Association churches to ask them how things were going. They discovered that some things were going well and some were going badly. It would be fair to say that getting people to attend one of the Seeker Churches and get involved in activities was successful. However, after staying a while, a high percentage of their folks had problems.
Programs, no matter how good, and marketing with entertaining music and talks to big groups do not help people work through the issues and problems of life. Many who responded to the WC survey hit walls of pain, problems and the pits. They were described as having "Stalled" as a result. From my reading, it does not appear that the WC association has anything like a plan, process or program to help people face and deal with their emotional, relational and spiritual issues.
In order to grow in faith, maturity and stature every Christian needs a community of skilled, seasoned believers to provide mutual support, care, prayer and counsel. My research indicates that 100% of a church will turn first to family and friends when they encounter a problem. After that over 40% will seek out help from a church leader while less that 10% will go to a professional counselor.
By training everyone in the church family to listen carefully, think clearly and pray constantly each member has someone to facilitate their movement through both healing and growth. Out of the members who learn the basic skills can be selected a few who learn the deeper skills of spiritual friendship, healing conversations and renewed thinking so they can provide para-professional care and counsel at the pastor's side.
People grow best in a dynamic interactive community. They do not grow spiritually, emotionally or relationally by sitting in large groups listening to a speaker. Caring processes keep us moving ahead.
The above photos shows the best model for Christian growth by applying the Bible and their gifts to a common issue.