Preventing Influenza A in the Body of Christ

By Corey Miller
 
The flu seems to have been the most popular gift exchanged this Christmas in Auburn. Congrats if you had a flu-free holiday this year, your home is in an elite class. We cancelled our planned trip to see my family in South Dakota because of the flu. It gave me some extra reading time.
 
Did you happen to read January’s Christian Standard magazine? We buy several dozen subscriptions and have them available at the back of the church. This month the Standard addressed Church Health. If you haven’t read it, please consider going to www.christianstandard.com and reading the free articles they posted online. Below you will find a redacted article of one retired minister’s definition of a healthy church. Maybe we could use his ideas as preventative measures to protect the body of Christ in Auburn from some of the viruses infecting churches today.
 
Is your church healthy? Can you invite new neighbors to attend your church with total confidence they will find a healthy environment? Will involvement in your congregation promote healthy spiritual growth in children and teenagers? How about single adults of all ages? Young couples and families? People nearing the end of life’s journey? As strangers park their cars and begin to walk toward the unfamiliar territory of your place of worship, what will they feel? Joy and love? Excitement and unity? Will they be uneasy, not knowing where to go or what to do? 
 
A healthy church values the call to ministry (Romans 10:1, 9-18)—Have you seen any beautiful feet lately? What is your congregation’s attitude toward the ministry? Do you appreciate that your minister is called of God? Or is your minister a “hireling” paid to get things done, but never really respected or included as part of the family? Is your minister’s greatest effort directed at taking care of the flock as a pastor (paid elder), or is your minister’s concentration devoted to winning people to faith in Christ?
 
A healthy church relies on The Book (2 Timothy 3:14-17)—If the Bible is truly our only source of authority for faith and practice, we need to learn it and apply it.
 
A healthy church promotes loving relationships—God calls his people to promote strong relationships that make for a healthy home, healthy church, and a healthy life. Remember Ephesians 4:2 and Galatians 6:2.
 
A healthy church keeps the main thing, the main thing—God requires a healthy church to focus all energy on the supremacy of Christ.
 
A healthy church is united (John 17:20, 23)—When Jesus prayed for future generations…he prayed that his people would be one, united so that the world would believe in him. 
 
A healthy church makes every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Disunity within a congregation…destroys the effectiveness of the gospel and renders the cross pointless. The emphasis on unity requires that each congregation be known as an “amazing grace place.” Let us receive God’s grace humbly, then extend it to others as channels of his grace.
 
A healthy church knows God’s plan of salvation—His plan comes in two pieces: God’s action, and our reaction to God’s action. Our reaction to the Christ event requires our decision to put faith in him, and it requires us to act upon that faith through repentance, confession of faith, and obedient baptism from which we rise to walk in a new life. 
 
A healthy church offers authentic worship (John 4:19-24)— The Father seeks worshippers who worship authentically, in Spirit and in truth. 
 
Is the worship experience a thinly veiled entertainment event? When people leave, do they leave saying, “My! What a great Savior!” 
 
A healthy church keeps in step with the Holy Spirit (John 14:15-21; Romans 8:9-11)—Let us not hesitate to teach the Holy Spirit and to seek his presence in all events and decisions. 
 
A healthy church comes to the table (1 Corinthians 11:23-34)—An unhealthy church avoids mention of the blood of Christ. 
 
A healthy church makes prayer a priority (Luke 11:1-13)— What is the content of public prayer? In the private, closeted prayers of your homes, how balanced is your prayer life? 
 
What did I learn about good health in the church? Every church wants health; yet, it’s an ongoing effort, a process for all of the people, a goal for every leader and every Christian to pursue.