3 Defining Words–(Some) Characteristics of a Healthy Church Part 3

I will have to admit that I’m not sure if word number three is a word.  Can you hyphenate any two words and then call the result a word no matter what?  Is lactose-intolerant a word?  If so, then is Bieber-intolerant also a word?  Who is in charge of deciding this?  Is it all the English teachers I had in High School and college that unjustly didn’t like me just because I was obnoxious and resented every minute I was in their class?  That hardly seems fair.  I’m sorry, what were we talking about?

Ah yes, the third defining word.


You’re right dude that’s not a word.  Would you prefer I use the more intriguing, non-hyphenated missional?  I don’t like the word missional.  Why?  My reasons are numerous and ridiculous.  We’re going with outward-focused.  Wait, wait, wait!  Shouldn’t it be outwardly-focused? Shouldn’t it be the adverbial (also possibly not a word) form?  Weren’t you paying attention?  I didn’t like English class growing up.

Anyway, just like me and this post (or this post and me), I find myself easily distracted.  My purpose in writing this post is to give and explain the 3rd of the three defining words for church.  Then I was going to inspire you.  However, I can’t stop rambling about a lot of nothing.  I’m too busy trying to be cute and clever to get to the point.

I feel church can be that way.  Jesus told us what the most important commands were–loving God and loving people.  He then gave us a mission–to tell the whole world about him, to make disciples, to take his love to people who desperately need it.  But we get distracted.  We start focusing on being busy with church activities.  We start focusing on what we don’t like about each other and we lose sight of all the people outside of church who desperately need to see, feel and hear about the love of God through his son Jesus.

Churches can become petty and start fighting within about music styles, theological minutia and, legendarily, carpet colors.  In the meanwhile, there is poverty and desperation and people separated from God that need us to love them.  When a church turns it’s attention outside of the walls, incredible things happen.  I’m too busy working along side of you to be bothered by your quirkyness.  I’m loving and serving people and I notice God transforming my character.  Most importantly, people who are far from God feel and experience God’s love, they hear about God’s Son and they begin to have life in his name.

People, both believers and not, want to be a part of a church that is showing love to people outside of their church.  They want to be a part of a church that is not waiting for people to come inside but is going “outside” to find and love people, a church that turns its energy toward needs in the world rather than turning on each other.  God is using these churches in amazing ways.

They are world-changeable.


4 Responses to “3 Defining Words–(Some) Characteristics of a Healthy Church Part 3”
  1. Shane says:


  2. cloften says:

    Yes unjustly. What are you suggesting? That just because I was a jerk and obnoxious that they had the right to think that I was an obnoxious jerk? Don’t be ridiculous.

  3. Carolyn Loften says:

    Great article, however I do take exception that music styles can’t be complained about. Ooops I ended with a preposition.

  4. Shane says:

    Yeah, but some of my fondest memories came out of the “unjustness”.

    FWIW, our’s isn’t the carpet colors, it’s the order and timing of doors being unlocked on Sundays….

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