Experience Health & Joy

Weekly Blog

Healthy Churches Pay a Healthy Salary!

Reading time: three minutes It's funny to me that churches often have such a hard time talking about money in general and salaries in particular.  Jesus spoke a great deal about money, treasure and possessions.  Why can't we? Our Lord taught that our possessions should not own us, but that we should manage them to God's glory.  I think it glorifies God when professional church workers are paid a decent, honorable salary for the service they perform.  I think it's a topic worth talking about in every congregation. If I could, I'd ask the lay leaders at every church I visit four important questions.  Wait a minute.  I DO ask every church I visit four questions!  Here they are... Read More

Healthy Churches Are HEALTHY Churches!

Reading time: three minutes. Here's five reasons why churches should be emphasizing physical wellness.  1) It's our roots. Jesus healed as a way to proclaim the kingdom.  We have a long history of health care/hospitals/outreach to the sick. 2) We're not neo-platonists.  We don't believe the spirit is good but the flesh is evil.  3) We have work to do.  Stay fit; fill your vocations.  4) The Church has always been counter-cultural, and our culture is a mess physically.  5) What a great way to connect with health conscious people in our neighborhoods, or those who seek greater physical wellbeing! That's the theory.  Here's four practical ways that healthy churches can truly be healthy places that care for body as well as mind and spirit... Read More

Bits and Pieces (or tired of waving goodbye)

Written by:  Deaconess Heidi Goehmann Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.                                              Ephesians 4:15-16 We listen to a fair amount of audiobooks in our family.  Early on in our four year old's life we figured out that if we had an audiobook in, then he didn't find it necessary to scream each and every moment of a car ride. ;) The last audiobook we finished was called "Touch Blue" and dealt with the topic of change, foster care, and finding your own place in the world.  The book was really good, but that isn't what this blog is about, of course. "These are the Texas pieces of my heart' At one point in the book the dad instructs the main character, who's struggling with what home is and who she is, that we're all made up of bits and pieces to make a whole self.  We aren't made up of our time in just one place or of just a single element of ourselves.  Our "bits and pieces" are collected together throughout our lives of people we love, experiences we have, and places we've been. I wholeheartedly agree with this tiny treasure tucked into the wisdom of a middle reader and between that and the scripture reading yesterday in church, it started to help me resolve something I've been struggling with for years. You see, so much of what I do is wave goodbye out the rear view window of my minivan.  One of the blessings of college and seminary life is wonderful, beautiful friends scattered all over the country.  But never will I have all the people I love in one place. Read More

Healthy Churches Serve Well Together!

Reading time: three minutes. I told my wife Carol the other day, "My dogs are barking!"  It seems my feet have been doing more than their share of the work lately.  It's retreat season, so I'm on my feet for long stretches.  My poor aching feet are over-functioning.  Carol suggested I let my gluteus do their job for a while. The Apostle wrote to the Ephesians, "From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work" (4:16). We pastors and other professional church workers sometimes have a problem with that last part, "... as each part does its work."  We tend to be over-functioners. Read More

Healthy Churches Clear the Air!

Reading time: three minutes. I have a natural aroma, a scent all my own.  It's not that pleasant, but I'm learning to deal with it pretty well.  I'm not talking about body odor.  For that aroma, a daily shower with some de-odorant soap and a quick smear of de-odorant stick and I'm set to face the public. The natural scent that follows me around that is much more deeply a part of me than my body odor is the smell of filthy rags.  It's the fragrance of the underside of a sheep.  It's the aroma of my natural tendency to say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, think the wrong thing and usually at just the wrong time. Fortunately, we have a Good Shepherd who is familiar with the smell of sheep, and willing to wrap them around His shoulders and carry them home. Read More

Healthy Churches Listen Well!

Reading time: Less than three minutes. Yogi Berra said, "You can observe a lot just by watching."  That's hard to argue with. I'm a big believer in continuing education programs.  My personal goal is to say, "I learned something this week" every week.  But I think intellectual wellbeing goes far beyond book learning. In the body of Christ, every person has something to share, some insight or experience from which I could learn.  You can observe a lot just by listening. Read More

Healthy Churches Are Built on Trust!

Reading time: three minutes. Are there scarier words in the world than "Trust me!"?  I've got older brothers.  Growing up, when I heard "Trust me," it was usually followed by something cataclysmic, a couple of bruises and potentially a few stitches.  Over the years, we all learn that the safest response to the question, "Do you trust me?" is "Of course not!  Do I look like Charlie Brown?" The Christian faith is based on trust.  God is trustworthy.  And we're learning to trust each other. Read More

“A pastor’s wife that changed my life”

Written by:  Deaconess Heidi Goehmann From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  Ephesians 4:16 When I was growing up my pastor was larger than life in my eyes.  He wore these special outfits, could fill a whole church with his voice, and just knew so much!  Once confirmation hit, he patiently listened to every argument I had about women in the church.  And he never once made me feel like I was a heathen (even though my teen years were rocky at best).  All of this made a huge impact on my life.  I understood forgiveness and mercy and grace because it was extended to me, not just through the booming voice from the pulpit on Sundays, but through the man I knew as Pastor. All of this matters, but there is a piece of the story that could easily go unnoticed.  When I was 17 and trying to pick a college, it was a major ordeal.  I was at a crossroads.  I visited no less than 20 different schools; state schools, private schools, all girl schools, huge schools, tiny schools.  I knew somewhere deep down that whatever I chose had the power to change the course of my life, and I hated that.  I was frustrated and scared and too immature to know that God would work in my life no matter what path I took. College Freshmen! One Sunday, after returning from a particularly daunting round of college visits in Chicago-land, my pastor's wife found me in the giant post-service crowd. "How did it go?"  she asked.  "OK.  Blah.  I don't know".  I replied in my teenage angst. "Have you every thought about Concordia?" Read More

Church Health: Open Heart Church!

Reading time: three minutes. What does your church smell like? I once had a call to a church who's parsonage was across the street from a pig farm.  "Don't worry, Pastor.  It's downwind... most of the time."  That's not what I'm talking about. Does your church emit the fragrance of Jesus?  Can people tell when they walk in that Jesus hangs out here? Read More

Church Health: Who Are We?

Reading time, three minutes. In 1974 I was 6'3" and 160 pounds so I bought a pair of platform shoes with three inch heels.  Not only did they look stupid, they didn't feel very good either.  I looked like a stork with a limp (the plaid bell bottoms didn't help much), and every bone in my ankles and feet screamed at me, "What are you DOING!?!" I wanted so badly to look cool like some guys I knew who really did make those shoes work for them, that I ended up miserable.  Churches can do that too. Read More