The yearly physical started as a requirement for life insurance policies in the early 20th century, according to a 2015 article from U.S. News & World Report. More than a century later this ideal is still ingrained in Americans as 92 percent believe these annual physicals are important, according to a November 2014 Kaiser Health Tracking Poll.
The goal of these annual exams is to check the health of individuals and give advice to stay healthy or get healthy in the following 365 days. It makes sense. Have an outsider with expertise look objectively at you and give you recommendations on making your health better. This process is similar to what Faith Chapel is going through in Step 2 of the Fruitful Congregation Journey.
Much like the yearly physical in which a doctor gathers details about a person’s body (height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc.), the FCJ consultants gather details about our church body (attendance figures, our own self evaluation, personal surveys, etc.). The consultants will be at Faith Chapel April 27-29 to ask the congregation questions similar to a doctor asking their patient “Do you have any discomfort? Have you had shortness of breath?”
Finally, the doctor goes over all the results from physicals which can catch early stages of illness or help guide our preventative care and maintenance with the purpose of helping our bodies function to the best of its ability. Similarly, the consultation team will listen, go over the compiled data and prescribe to Faith Chapel action items that would help our church body. The consultation team will be presenting this prescription during the worship service on Sunday, April 29.
Church checkups are not a new concept. In fact, when the Christian church was spreading in the first century, church planters frequently checked on churches. In Acts 15:36 we are shown Paul and Barnabas do this precise things. Luke records, “And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.'” Paul was suggesting that Barnabas and he give check ups to the churches in order to make them most effective for growing the Kingdom of God.
It is still a necessary part of the process in equipping churches to do their work. That’s all the next two months is about. Be open to this process. Be honest during this process and let us come out of this a stronger, more effective church in making disciples of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Checkups are important with humans and with churches. My hope and prayer is that we embrace this process and that God uses these next two months to show us the path he wants us as a congregation to take.