A sign of a healthy church is it’s networked with other churches and learns from their successes and failures.
The author of 2 Chronicles uses a brilliant technique to encourage their audience toward faithfulness to God. They tell stories about kings from the line of David that lived in Jerusalem after David died.
They highlight stories about both kings that were obedient to God and how that led to successes, as well as stories about kings that were unfaithful to God and experienced the consequences of their failures.
Those who do not learn history…
Churches have both successes and failures all the time. I was referred once to a podcast by Christianity Today called The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. Here is the description of the 18-episode podcast…
Founded in 1996, Seattle’s Mars Hill Church was poised to be an influential, undeniable force in evangelicalism—that is until its spiraling collapse in 2014. The church and its charismatic founder, Mark Driscoll, had a promising start. But the perils of power, conflict, and Christian celebrity eroded and eventually shipwrecked both the preacher and his multimillion-dollar platform.
Don’t you think it would be helpful for churches to clearly understand the good and the bad of what happened here?
You’ve likely heard the famous quote…
Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.
If you’re like me, there’s nothing more frustrating than a mistake that could have been avoided or a success that could have been realized if we just knew a story from the past that would have taught us discernment for the present.
Networking is indispensible
A healthy church doesn’t isolate itself. Every church in and of itself is limited. They all have limited resources, limited experience, and limited wisdom.
Here’s what C. Kavin Rowe, author of Thriving Communities: The Pattern Of Church Life Then and Now says about this…
To put it simply: as the book of Acts shows, the early church found networking to be indispensable for their thriving in the deepest sense — their ability to be Christians.
Churches should see themselves as part of a network of differently-sized units. Christ and the apostles set out to build one big church of many small churches throughout every city on the planet.
Those churches were there to support and learn from each other so the expression of God’s Kingdom could increase across the world.
An outside perspective
Tapping into an already established network improves a church’s chances of surviving and thriving. They’ve been there and done that. They’ve likely seen and had to deal with the problems and challenges you’ll soon face.
They’re able to give you an outside unbiased perspective that just can’t be seen from the inside. Learning from their stories (past and present) grows wisdom and discernment.
Although every church experiences a different context and exudes a unique expression, we can pull from their stories and turn it into applied wisdom in our own context.
Churches that try to figure out everything on their own suffer the consequences of that isolation.