Came across a fantastic piece over at The Cripplegate about four unpleasant things that make churches healthy.
We need to realize is that some unpleasantness inherent to a healthy local church is NOT an imperfection, but a necessary attribute of faithfulness. In some pills it is the active ingredients that make it taste bitter. Here are four bitter pills that you may prefer to avoid swallowing, but should view as a sign that you’ve found a good church home. In fact if all four of these “unpleasantries” were absent it would indicate you’ve stumbled into a dangerously inept church.
His four pills, along with short excerpts from each, are as follows:
Healthy churches tend to…
1. Downplay the importance of your personal preference. I’m not saying that a healthy church is one whose leadership refuses to listen to feedback. But, if after careful consideration, the church leaders decide not to accommodate the preferences you harbor that are not mandated in Scripture, you should thank them and decide to commit.
2. Preach sermons that frequently make you uncomfortable.
3. Insist on formal membership before letting you serve. Some people get all in a huff when they offer to serve on the sound desk or play in the band, only to be kindly informed that they first need to attend a membership class. This may seem like red tape to an immature believer, but a church that lets you serve (especially in a public ministry like singing upfront) without first bothering to ask if you are a Christian, baptized, and in general agreement with what is taught, is a church that is being flippant with a massive responsibility.
4. Be willing to ask you to leave. One of the first questions you should ask the leadership of a church you are considering membership at, is what they would do if you were caught in sin.
I’m not saying all good churches leave a constant bitter taste lingering on your palette. But if you find these attitudes to be too bitter to swallow, perhaps its time to consider whether you’re looking for a biblical, healthy church that please Jesus, or if you are looking for a social club focussed on keeping its clientele comfortable.
I encourage you to read the whole thing here.