A week ago I followed my wife’s advice and went to the emergency room. I was battling my regular winter cold, feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired. That was last Tuesday. She had tried to get me to go on Friday. It was a cold with a cough. I get it every year. It was no big deal. Or so I thought.
After a round of tests and x-rays, I sat in an exam room waiting for the doctor, a woman from our church. The diagnosis was pneumonia. Fluid had built up in my lung so that it almost couldn’t take in any air. Oh, and the other lung had started to fill up as well. Double pneumonia. As I said on Facebook, “When I win, I win BIG.”
This was no average cold. I was sick, really sick. I was walking around doing everything that I do each day without giving it a second thought, chalking it up to a normal part of life. Then it hit me. Putting my health at risk by ignoring it isn’t just a personal issue, it can also have a tremendous impact on the Church.
Do we as pastors, leaders and churchgoers “put up with” sickness and disease in our churches because we are so used to them that we no longer consider the risks they pose to the viability of the church?
We do. I’ve seen it at every level. But why do we live with the disease instead of treating it?
We are comfortable with it.
It keeps everything running at the same pace and there is little rocking of the boat. The same people continue to lead the same ministries with the same results. And everyone is happy.
We are afraid of change.
What would we do, what would we become if we allow things to change? For 10 or 20 or 50 years we have existed as this. We don’t know if we can function as something else.
We are ignorant.
Not a rude, obnoxious kind of ignorance, but the simple, unexposed kind of ignorance. We don’t know there is some other way, a better way.
We are like the girl who grows up watching her father abuse her mother, who goes and finds her way into relationships with abusive boyfriends or husbands. She doesn’t know that there are homes where the parents don’t fight all the time, no one goes to the emergency room on a regular basis, and a different kind of love thrives in the home.
We need it to be the way it is.
Maybe we benefit from the status quo, or lead it that way to keep peace at the table. Is it possible to be different? Sure; but it isn’t worth the cost to get there.
- These are just some of the reasons we allow disease to keep us bogged down and in a state of perpetual sickness. With that sickness comes inactivity, weakness, and often some unwelcome diseases quickly invade. We may only find out or start to deal with it after already crossing the point of no return.
- Today is my seventh full day of medication. You know what I can do now? I can breathe in a deep breath. I can even hold it and not cough for twenty minutes afterwards. I’m getting better. In a while I’ll have some strength back that I’ve missed for far too long. Don’t you want the same for your church?
If you want to know about some of the diseases that run unnoticed or unchecked in our churches, let me recommend a book to you: Why Churches Die: Diagnosing Lethal Poisons in the Body of Christ by Mac Brunson and Ergun Caner. It talks about some of the diseases that are infesting our churches, and will lead to incapacitation or death if left untreated.