Growing Healthy People
Growing Healthy People. Those are the words on the front page of our website. Why those words? We had been in the process of creating a new website for some time now. When we finally landed on a company we decided to take a deep dive and do a consultation with a web designer who specializes in church communications. At some point in the conversation he told us that what he heard us saying repeatedly in our two-hour conversation was the health of people. Soul health, emotional health, relational health, spiritual health. So we decided to brand our site – Growing Healthy People.
According to the book of Genesis, the very first book of the Bible, we are created Imago Dei – in the image of God. I know this sounds simple, but we were created to be more than spirit beings. We are not less than that, but we are much more. We have mental capacity as well as complex and wonderfully created physical bodies that are equipped with highly integrated layers of emotions. Not only that but humans have incredible relational capacity. We have the ability to have friends and with friendship comes joy and vulnerability. One of the things that bothers me about church is that we can sometimes think that church only interacts with the spiritual part of people. This can leave a gap in understanding how the Bible and spiritual things connect with the other parts of what makes us human. People are left to go find help elsewhere with other important areas of their life like their emotions or relationships. Let me list three ways we are seeking to grow healthy people at Bethel:
1. Bible teaching that expresses human vulnerability. The Bible teaching at our church is more than a monologue of information from ancient times based upon an ancient book. We believe the Bible is God’s truth to us about His Son Jesus and it it living (Hebrews 4:12). That means it is actively working in the ones teaching the Bible each week. We strive to be accurate and Biblical in what we say and to do it with honesty about our own lives. We are a work in progress too. We strive to be transparent while teaching others and not present pastors as above others. As your pastors we want to set an example of what it means to be vulnerable because we believe the Gospel demands this. Because Jesus died for all sin, there is nothing I could say about my own life that Jesus has not already paid for.
2. Living life alongside each other in community groups. Jesus spent most of his time with a small group of people. Most of the time that was the twelve disciples but there were other people in his circle of friends such as Mary, Martha and Lazarus (John 11). These are the people who were “with him.” We believe there is something special in a smaller group of people meeting together. Regularly throughout the week, our Community Groups (CG) meet to discuss the Sunday sermon, pray together and share our lives together. One of the regular parts of a CG is having a meal together. It is in these smaller settings that our lives can grow with the help of others as we wrestle with our doubts, celebrate the high points, and weep with those who weep.
3. Sticking with it over the long haul. Let’s face it, church is a volunteer organization. People come and go. That’s not a cynical statement it is just true after years of observation. But we want to challenge a different path. A path to church life that sticks with the same church over a longer period of time. Hanging with people through the high’s and low’s of life. I am talking about having a relational difficulty and staying to work through it. I am talking about sitting with people in the awkwardness of a relationship and the bumpiness that often occurs. I am talking about learning to love people that can annoy us and having the humility to recognize that we are all that annoying person at some time.
It is watching the Gospel change and grow people. That’s what we want to be about – Growing healthy people!