Cubs or Cardinals? Health or Holiness?


Two seemingly unrelated questions, but are they? Both questions call for a decision and an alignment. Both questions are ripe with possibilities for acceptance and rejection, even if you favor neither team.
I think it is interesting that the number one question that I have been asked, in almost every church I’ve attended since coming to the IGRC, is, “Cubs or Cardinals?” I find it strange that no one has asked me about health or holiness in the church. Perhaps our focus on human sexuality and our 40-year decline have our attention on other questions. 
What is your preference for your church -- health or holiness?  I realize that this is an unfair question because we need both health and holiness in every church. I also realize that it is unfair because many will want me to unpack what both terms, health and holiness, mean before making a decision.
Healthy churches are churches that exhibit the vital signs of spiritual growth, biological growth, and numeric growth. Healthy churches are engaged in life-changing mission and ministry that engages and impacts its community. Healthy churches are welcoming, fruitful, generous, and disciple-making worship centers that are making a difference.
Most of us want to be numbered among those labeled as “healthy.” Healthy is not a bad thing. I believe we are so eager for health that we often times ignore what I believe the Lord requires, namely holiness. I am not saying that healthy churches are not focused on holiness or that churches that pursue holiness can ignore health. Vital, growing churches exhibit both.
Churches focused on holiness are Christ-centered churches that are spirit-led and spirit-empowered churches that understand they are the body of Christ, being built as a holy habitation with Jesus Christ as the CEO and model for effective ministry. Churches that center on holiness are always asking, “what honors Jesus?”
My hope is that like a few households, our answer is “yes!”  We love both Cubs and Cardinals. My hope is that we want health and holiness. I do not believe we can honor Christ by simply focusing on health alone. We need both health and holiness to properly address the needs of our global community.
I know that most Cub fans and Cardinal fans will argue that you must make a decision and stick with your team. As a Christian I want to honor Christ by being both healthy and holy. I’d like to be part of an Annual Conference that is full of healthy and holy churches.
As for the Cubs or Cardinals, “Go White Sox!”
God Bless,
Bishop Beard