I shared with you a personal oddball church story in my previous post to illustrate a point. In my experience far too many churches, and para-church ministries, are not healthy because they have this strange commitment to "being nice" as the core value in all human interactions. By "being nice" I mean the organization is completely conflict averse - a culture where the most important value is to never, ever have conflict, and a culture where everyone works very hard to always, always, be nice to everyone. This inevitably turns into a ministry culture where 1) everyone says what they think people want to hear rather than what they're really thinking and feeling and 2) appropriate conflict, that can foster reconciliation in strained relationships or introduce needed critiques of the organization that can make it stronger, are stamped out quickly. Sadly this kind of "being nice" inevitably stamps out health. I've been in far too many ministries that function as if "Jesus died to make us nice!" - as if niceness was supposed to be the main outcome of discipleship to Christ. Last time I checked Jesus didn't die on the cross and rise from the tomb just to produce a bunch of evangelicals who know how to be nice. Don't get me wrong, nice is nice but never at the expense of being real and "speaking the truth in love." So when we're talking about church health, I truly believe that a church, from top to bottom, needs to be authentic and honest more than nice and disingenuous. I'd love to hear you comments?