Churches That Heal: Becoming a Church That Mends Broken Hearts and Restores Shattered Lives

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9781582293011: Churches That Heal: Becoming a Church That Mends Broken Hearts and Restores Shattered Lives
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Why should churches heal? Does your church touch the lives of broken people and bring healing to their hearts? How does a church become that healing force that glorifies God and impacts whole communities? In a desperately hurting world full of toxic relationships, crippled values, and mutilated morality, lives are crying out for real healing -- not drug-induced solutions, not psychobabble Band-Aids, but authentic answers that heal the heart, soul, mind, and strength. There is only one source for such healing power. The Church that was built on the One who said to the world, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened." The question is not can we become a church that heals shattered lives but will we. Doug Murren, in this insightful, inspiring, and instructive book, reveals why and how you can become a healing force in your neighborhood, community, and the world.

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About the Author:

Doug Murren is director of Square One Ministries and the author of more than thirteen books covering a wide variety of genres. Doug is an ordained minister with the Free Methodist denomination. He and his wife, Lori, are a team in leading Square One. He and Lori live in Sammamish, Washington.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

Why should churches be places of healing? That’s the question I got from several doctors when I mentioned the title of this book to them. We have modern medicine. We have great scientific understanding. We have new breakthroughs occurring nearly every day. Why in the world would churches want to get into the act?

In addition to conventional medicine, the New Age healing arts are deeply entrenched in my hometown of Seattle. Crystals, alternative therapies, mind/body science—with so many options available, who needs the church?

From all appearances, the church has been left out of the picture when it comes to healing today. The body of Christ has all but lost its claim to healing gifts that address the tangible needs of an ailing society.

I, for one, want to restake that claim.

One of my friends who is not a believer thought I was engaged in a very funny pursuit. “We all know why churches should heal,” he said. “It’s because people need healing! But can they do it? It seems to me that churches cause wars and make people ill by stifling creativity and fighting science. Maybe you should address those things, then come back and talk about healing.”

While my friend’s opinion of the church is somewhat jaded, he did hit on a key: Churches should heal because people need healing! That is the major reason any compassionate community of believers should want to create an environment where healing can take place.

And there’s a higher reason: We want to heal because it glorifies God. Like worship, healing is a form of ministry to our heavenly Father, the Great Physician.

Healing can mean the mending of a body that is physically broken. It can mean the restoration of emotions that have been battered and bruised. But I have come to believe that the greatest healing next to salvation itself is the turning of a stony heart into a thankful heart. I want to turn your attention to a Scripture passage that we will refer to again and again. I call it “The Periscope of the One Healed Leper.”

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11–19)

As I will explain later, I believe that thankfulness is the final act in a complete miracle of healing. So as you read on, read thankfully, and soak up anything that will help you make your own church a church that heals.

A Healing Environment

I have become convinced that God uses the church’s environment, as much as our prayers, to bring healing. Not all churches have an environment that is conducive to healing. There are many “toxic” churches today—communities where guilt, manipulation, fear, and shame reign, poisoning the spiritual atmosphere and making healing all but impossible.

What traits can churches aspire to that will allow them to avoid these toxins? How can we build churches that heal?

Through extensive study, prayer, and practice, I’ve identified what I believe are the main characteristics of healing churches. I share these characteristics with you as a fellow journeyer in the Spirit who longs to see more true healing taking place in the church today.

I am a pastor, an evangelist, and a leader. But I’m not a theologian. Thus, in this book, I will not give you a theological treatise. Instead, in the process of looking at biblical texts and sharing true stories, I hope to give you practical knowledge and skills that will help you create a church that can actively bring healing to your community.

I encourage you to read this book with an attitude of openness, appreciating whatever benefit it offers you while having patience with any shortcomings you may detect. If you have this attitude, you may find that you are being healed as you read.

And that’s important—because in order to develop a healing church, we, as “wounded healers,” must be willing to acknowledge the toxins in our own lives that could affect the healing environment we seek to create.

Ultimately, the best healers are the ones who’ve experienced their own pain. It’s like having a doctor who has the same disease you do; you realize he probably knows more than just what the books have to say, and that makes you more open to his diagnosis and treatment.

So, from one wounded healer to another, let’s discover how we can begin to develop churches that heal.

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