I’ve had a sense through the years that churches in general and this church in particular need to take more care to avoid enabling unhealthy behaviors.
With the best of intentions, we can reinforce behaviors and patterns in people that do much more harm than good.
For example . . .
When a church allows people to “over-volunteer” — you know, the ones who are there before the church doors are even open — it enables them to avoid life at home. Some people wrap themselves up in church activities so they don’t have to deal with unpleasant situations or relationships in the family.
When a church tolerates continual bad behavior — you know, people who serve on committees and get their way through sheer volume of voice or force of personality — it enables the very actions the Scriptures condemn. In keeping the peace, churches perpetuate war.
When a church relies more on charity than the ministry of life development — you know, agreeing to pay for somone stay at a local motel simply to get them out of the office — it enables a dependency mindset in the ones asking for help. One of the most influential books in this area: Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton.
When a church has low standards for involvement — you know, “we’re so glad you’re adding to our worship attendance total that it doesn’t bother us you haven’t cracked open a bible in seven years” — it enables the kind of spiritual complacency it claims to combat.
Gee. All that sounds a bit like this church.
Does it sound like yours?