Thursday, November 08, 2007


It is the goal of Mission Catalyst to facilitate the planting of healthy churches with certain basic beliefs and focuses. What does a healthy church look like? Having pastored many churches through the years, I have a mental picture of a healthy church. There are several factors, but I want to focus on one that is basic: Affinity. This means that there is general agreement on basic beliefs and goals. Affinity goes farther than beliefs, however. Affinity includes a natural sense of agreement on worship styles and life’s values. When two people are introduced, they usually make small talk until they hit on some common ground — they both lived in Tennessee at one time; they both graduated in the same year; they both listen to Rush Limbaugh; or they are both fans of the Chicago Bears. When some affinity is reached, no matter what it is, there is more joy in being together and sharing. That is essential with a church. When all like the fact that their church has a “great” band and plays music they can really get into, that is an affinity that causes them to love their church. When all like the direction in which their pastor or point person is leading the church, that is affinity. When there is affinity, there is joy, excitement, and enthusiasm. Where people are enthusiastic, churches grow. Healthy churches grow just as healthy plants grow. If they are not growing, they are dead. In my experience, there is little affinity in congregations. Because people are poles apart on various methods, goals, or even basic beliefs, there are mediocre methods used and middle of the road compromises on almost everything. The intent is to please as many as possible so as to keep everyone on board. In reality, many bail, and evangelism tries to replace them so that we do not have negative growth. Affinity, on the other hand, breeds joy, and people invite their friends. This is human nature. If we buy a new Chevy truck and just love it, we tell others and are very convincing. If we went to an amusement park that really was worth the money, we tell others and they plan their vacations accordingly. Church growth is best done magnetically. Joy is contagious. This is true with any style of worship or beliefs. Their must be affinity, not tolerance. How does your church rate on affinity?

Dennis Pumford
Assistant Directional Leader