Are Happy Churches Healthy Churches?

My brother loves his church.

Happy Window

He treasures his relationships – both with the pastors and with the other members.  He spends vacation time serving on mission trips – and not the kind which involve side trips to rain forests and beautiful beaches.  He gladly serves on a regular basis and he credits the church with teaching, inspiring, and supporting him.  He describes his community of faith as A Happy Church.

At the risk of sounding shallow, a happy church seems to be a healthy church.  Is that what you’ve found?

I occasionally spend time with unhappy churches.  Maybe they can’t be happy because of their own personal anxieties or their anxieties over church issues.  Churches in survival mode are rarely happy.  Their members don’t seem to love each other.  They might say they are “friendly” but then they fail to serve each other much less strangers.  

Church unhappiness might stem from poor relationships between pastors and members. It might result from disagreement over the church’s course of ministry.  Distrust breeds unhappiness.  Power struggles breed unhappiness.

So, of the healthy congregations you know, would you say they are “happy”?


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3 responses to “Are Happy Churches Healthy Churches?

  1. I do think there is a positive vibe in a healthy congregations; you can sense it. And yes the pastor-people relationship is crucial to that vibe.

  2. I stepped into leadership of Unity Longmont in December, so it is still new, I am still learning. Our small congregation relishes laughter, inspiration, variety and socializing together. We are also able to respond to crisis in congregants’ lives. I believe we are happy and healthy and will only increase as we learn together.
    Just started reading a powerful book, “The Power of the Herd: A Nonpredatory Approach to Social Intelligence, Leadership, and Innovation” by Linda Kohanov. She has worked with equine healing, training horses and humans and learned about leadership by observing how horses do it.

  3. Pingback: Are Happy Churches Healthy Churches? | achurchforstarvingartists | Church Growth

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