ideas about church

Posted: March 2, 2009 in biblical community, community, worship
Tags: , , ,

This is a post by Steve Timmis  that I read a couple of weeks ago about “Pastoral Care”, but find it very appropriate at this time to share with those of you who follow me,  but maybe not Steve. Church is many things, but sometimes I think some of us get it confused with our own ideals…..


Therapeutic community” is a phrase in vogue in the areas of mental illness and addiction. Groups are formed in which patients or clients live together for an extended period and take responsibility for each other. It sounds suspiciously like church to me.

The Church: The Ideal Therapeutic Community

When we become Christians, we become members of God’s household, but we all bring with us our baggage and brokenness. It might not always look like that in many of our churches, but that’s only because of the facades we erect to hide the truth. So given that we’re all broken, sanctification is about grace putting us back together again as we grow more like Jesus. This is best done in community, which means that church as the community of the Holy Spirit is the ideal therapeutic community.

Brokenness and Self-Worship

Sadly, this is often another situation in which we are keen to outsource. Anything too complicated (like depression) or too weird (like psychosis), and we’re on the phone to the local therapist before you can say “Freud was a basket case.” The gospel tells us that our brokenness is an expression of our broken relationship with God. This is the essence of sin, and sin is insanity. However we express our brokenness, in some way it is because of our refusal to worship God and our obsession with self-worship. You’re not going to hear that at the local Mayo Clinic.

The Gospel Makes Us Sane

But a word of warning. Seeing church as a therapeutic community doesn’t mean that it’s an exercise in self-indulgence; a context where we all huddle together and wallow in our condition. The gospel is that which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, makes us sane and heals our brokenness so that we live for Christ as our healing commends him and his grace to others.


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