Sunday, October 30, 2011

What if Christianity worked like public health?

In his homily today, the bishop said "Evangelism is one hungry man telling another where to find bread." This basic statement triggered a series of flashbacks to my Baptist church evangelism days (which merit their own post. Gosh,there are a lot of things I'm not proud of. But it made me wonder...what if churches(and other Christian organizations) went through the same steps and procedures outlined for public health interventions? I have a lot of ideas about how this might work, and I want to take some time to bounce some of them off a priest-friend of mine who is actively planting churches.

But the main point: in public health,our goal is to make communities places where it easy to be healthy. What if, in Christianity, we aimed to make churches places where it is easy to love Jesus? I don't mean haphazard trying, I mean systematically following an established process.

*Disclaimer*: Chaos reigns in plenty of public health ventures too- often due to having insufficient resources, time, and trained personnel. But the discipline acknowledges that's far from ideal.

*Additional Disclaimer*: I have not yet read The Purpose Driven Church, which delivers a formula for how churches should approach the future. It's entirely possible that everything I'm pondering has already been said. Depending on how serious I get about this project, I should probably do that. (However, I'll mention that I watched my father try to "do" The Purpose Driven Church in three different churches for a period of 10 years, and he was less than thrilled with the results. "Results" happened to include being run off from a church. So I have a generally negative view of the book.)

No comments: