February 3, 2019 // Denise Boggs
Creating a Healing Culture:
The Church, of all places should be the place that has a Healing Culture. I will never forget when a little boy walked into our church and as he looked at the cross he asked: “Does Jesus really live here?”
A Healing Culture is a place where people can become healthy and whole by learning how to be real and speak the truth in love. In order for this to take place it must first start with the church leadership.
Step One is for each person in leadership to attend a Healing the Heart Retreat to identify life cycles, repeated patterns of relationship issues, over-reactions and offenses. As each person examines these repeated patterns they must be willing face the truth of how unhealed hurts from the past have caused stones to form in their heart. (Matthew 13:20-21) (Ez. 26:36).
Healing the heart is the process of reaching back into time and identifying the painful hurts that cause the stones to form. Each person must be willing to look diligently for stones and deal with them, allowing the love of God to fill the area where the stones have occupied.
When every person in leadership has gone through this process on a personal level, then a group session is the next step. During this session each person is given time to share personal progress as well as making amends with others in leadership where needed. The love of God can tangibly be felt as each person is real, facing the truth of past hurts and sharing the healing process. As stones of offense are removed and hearts healed, walls of self-protection and defensiveness will come down. A person with a healed heart can hear the Truth as well as speak the Truth in love to others (Ephesians 4:15). In this culture where Truth is welcomed and valued love is tested and perfected and everyone matures at a rapid pace. 1 John 4:7 tells us that as we love one another, that love runs its full course and each one progressively comes to understand and know God’s love in a deeper way.
1 John 4:18 says perfect love will cast out fear. A culture where love flows the fear of judgment or rejection is cast out.
A Healing Culture can be created when the leadership is willing to do the work first for the sake of creating a church that is healthy.
The healthier the leadership is the more they desire to stop all performance and pretense is replaced it by an intentional pursuit of knowing and living in truth. When leadership does not feel threatened by Truth, or by someone being real about their feelings they will be able to respond to any given situation in love and create a Healing Culture.
Step three is to break the four rules that govern a dysfunctional family or even a church. A healthy Church family is the perfect environment to bring healing to people who have grown up in dysfunctional families. The church must be aware of the four unspoken rules of a dysfunctional family and be intentional about not creating the same environment. The four rules are:
1) Don’t Talk
2) Don’t Feel
3) Don’t Trust
4) Don’t Rock the Boat
To create a Healing Culture there must be an intentional effort to break these four rules.
The first rule, the “Don’t Talk Rule” is broken by leadership. Leadership models and encourages the congregation to open up and begin to talk about painful hurts from the past. A Safe Place can be set up in a designated place for processing hurts and receive prayer ministry b a trained prayer minister.
The second rule, the “Don’t Feel Rule” is broken naturally as leadership is real with sharing their struggles that resulted from past hurts, it models to the congregation that feelings they may feel are valid.
The “Don’t Trust Rule” is the hardest rule to break because everyone who grew up in a dysfunctional family struggles with trust issues. The big question is, “Who Can I trust?’ To create a Healing Culture there must be a team of seasoned individuals that can be trusted create the Safe Place. These prayer ministers are trained to hear someone’s problem (bear their burdens) and not be overwhelmed, judgmental or react in a negative way. These seasoned prayer ministers should be Spirit Filled believers who have discernment ad are especially good listeners.
The last rule, “Don’t Rock the Boat” takes longer to cultivate in a church. The “Don’t Rock the Boat” rule in a family is what keeps the dysfunction going as no one is willing to speak the truth about how the family situation is effecting them. With this rule in place the alcoholic continues drinking, the spendoholic keeps spending and the bills keep piling up until the home is reposed. The “Don’t Rock the Boat” rule in a church works much the same way and over time there is the same risk of the church crumbling.
The “Don’t Rock the Boat” rule can be broken over time as more people in the church receive healing from past hurts. With healed and healthier elders, leaders and congregation the people are not as fearful of rejection so they can speak the truth in love before situations get out of hand.
As a church presses into the Healing Culture concept they will begin to recognize how the truth has allowed the freedom to come forth in the leadership and the congregation creating more authentic relationships and a healthier church as a whole.
Co-founder of Living Waters Ministry, Denise Boggs is passionate about healing and has a deep hunger for the Word of God. She is the author of over 20 workbooks and multiple small group curriculum. Denise has also written the full-length books, “Healing and Restoring the Heart”, “Restoring the Family”, and her newest released: “Breaking Free from Sickness and Disease”.
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