Lutheran Church Extension Fund

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 Roseworry, 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? In Exodus 30, the Lord ensured that the holiest place of the tabernacle, the place of His presence, would have it’s own, distinctive and most beautiful fragrance.  You’d know by the smell that the Lord was there, and you could tell by the aroma of the priest that he’d been spending time with God. Paul says, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15). I remember two things about Sundays with my dad: singing the liturgy from page 15 and the aftershave he wore.  He had a enormous bottle that lasted all the way through my childhood. He only splashed it on for Sunday worship. When I hear the musical setting from that service, I can smell my dad’s aftershave.  My Singmemories of the love and grace shared in that small congregation are so strong that to me, I can hear and smell my dad sing from deep in my heart, that it smells to me like Jesus. The only way for the priests of the Old Testament to pick up the aroma of God was to enter in to that most holy place.  It’s the same for us today. When the curtain in the temple was torn in two (Matthew 27:51) we were invited to enter the presence of God.  You can enter that presence right now.  Reflect on your baptism into Christ and His promise of eternal love.  Open His Word and commune for a moment with the Living Word. Churches start to smell kind of sour and musty when they start to smell like us, not like Jesus.  It’s the most natural thing in the world to fall back into our old nature and start to run the church like it was ours.  “I like…”  “We’ve always…”  I think…”  People who visit our churches can tell pretty quickly if the church smells like Jesus or if it smells like us. The cure, of course, is to have hearts that are open and receptive to God, open to the sweet Jesus and mearoma of the good news of Jesus and the guiding and leadership of the Holy Spirit.   Spiritual wellbeing for any Christian is simply a matter of dying to my old sinful nature every day and turning to the Word for the truth about myself, the world, and God’s mission in the world.  it’s the same for churches. Spiritually healthy churches are finding ways to dig in to God’s Word together to find His will and purpose for their life together. When personal agendas are set aside in order to follow God’s leading, everything smells different.  It starts to smell like Jesus. That’s a breath of fresh air.  Enjoy a whiff. Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee?  Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs.  Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!