Preparing for Amazement focuses on the health of people and congregations. To aid you in thinking through such health, I want to take a moment and consider what it means for congregations to ask the following question focused on spiritual health:
Do we have a plan for the care of my spiritual health? How often do we abandon it for other demands?
If you’ve experienced most church business like I have (as a pastor, a staff member, and a lay leader), then spiritual health is not the focus. It is getting stuff done (GTS as Marcus says). In fact, I can say without a doubt that any time there was a limited timeframe, we just skipped any prayer, devotion, or Bible reading scheduled. We quickly abandoned the spirituality of the group for the work we had to do together.
The question above forces us, I think, to reevaluate what matters in our congregational life as we “do business.” Do you as staff, committees, councils, or any other group have a plan for your spiritual health? Are you intentional about growing the spiritual health of your smaller group even a little? If you resonated with my experience of church business, then the answer is probably, “no.”
So, what can you do?
A good place to start is to write out such a plan. I know, I know. That sounds too formal and dull. Yet, a plan does not need to be detailed (though it can be, if you’re that type of group). A plan simply needs three things:
- Goals – what is it you want to do to foster spiritual health together?
- Timeframe – how long will you pursue those goals until you reevaluate?
- Accountability – how will you be sure you stick to the plan?
For example, we may want to dedicate ourselves to following two of the five spiritual goals described in my last post (link). It would probably take us 3-6 months to really include those in a monthly meeting format. So, we will plan to reevaluate in six months. Finally, we will keep ourselves accountable by making spiritual health a non-removable agenda item – no matter the context!
Following these three steps can pave the way to stronger spiritual health as a group. Whatever your goals, I must quickly note, you must do them with authenticity and vulnerability. If you just put them on your agenda to get something done, it will not – I must repeat, it will not! – bring about spiritual health. However, and this is a promise, if you follow a plan with authenticity and vulnerability, you will grow closer, healthier, and more effective together.
Nate Whittaker, Coach