I was taught that healthy organisms grow. I’ve studied the elements of church health for years. I earned a doctorate in organizational development. I’ve pastored three healthy churched that grew. And based on all that, I’ve assumed that the biotic principals of heath in creation, also found in organizational structures, facilitate growth. Healthy churches grow. Unhealthy churches don’t.
But the church I now serve defies that assumption. Having undergone years of unhealthy systems and behavior, and diagnosed by one consultant as “the most unhealthy church they had ever seen,” this church grew, and grew, and she keeps on growing.
That’s why I’m perplexed—my paradigms are turning upside down; hence my cognitive dissonance.
Now, I don’t think this is an argument to pursue unhealthy behavior so that grace may abound. But, I do think the experience of my church is instructive. I’m just trying to figure out what the instruction is.
My suspicion is that the answer is to be found in the Gospel. That good news that announces to us that God resurrects life from death, and that he delights in confounding the wise, with a higher wisdom, and that He will show, sometimes sternly, sometimes with humor, that He is God and we are not, in spite of our propensity to assume otherwise.
So here I am with all my education and my cognitive dissonance, scratching my head over the irrational grace that God has poured into this place in spite of all it’s shenanigans. Come to think of it, the same is true with my rip-torn life, so I shouldn’t be caught off guard, but I am, and it’s really a pretty good place to be.