Years ago, when I was on staff at Florence Avenue Foursquare Church, Pastor Paul Risser told our leadership team of a conversation he had with a new person to our church. The lady told Pastor that she had not been to church in quite a while because she was fed up with it all. She continued, 'I had my troubles in my marriage and with my kids, we had financial problems and problems with our small business. So I'd go to church for some comfort and relief, but instead, all I got were more problems. I would be told at church how I wasn't doing this or that right, or wasn't doing enough of this or that. I would leave church feeling guilty and frustrated. So I decided to quit going because I had enough problems and could easily eliminate one by not going to church anymore.' She then told Pastor Risser how much she enjoyed going to church at Florence Avenue because everyone seemed so happy. Our leadership team at the church listened, nodding, as we heard this story. It was true, Florence Avenue was a happy church.
Who makes a happy church? First of all, the presence of our Father in Heaven. God is happy and where He is, happiness follows. Secondly, it is the staff ministers. If they are happy, it instills happiness throughout the church. Thirdly, it's the volunteers and all the people who attend. If they are happy, then it is a happy church.
What causes a happy church? Primarily, a church is happy if the people have chosen to worship the name of Jesus and follow His Word. David wrote in Psalms 138:2, 'You have exalted above all things, your name and your word.' God's name and His Word are the two most important things in all the world. The second important principle for a happy church is the intent of the people who attend. Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 5:9, 'So we make it our goal to please Him.' How we do this is by honoring and exalting God's name and His Word.
So, how are we supposed to do these things. First, we must LEARN from God who He is, and what He desires for our lives. David wrote in Psalm 1:1-2, 'Blessed (HAPPY) is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, on His law, he meditates day and night.' We can see from this that rejecting the advice and practices of the world and learning from God is what makes us happy people.
The next thing we must do in order to be happy people and thus, a happy church, is to LIVE out what we are learning from and about God. James 1:22 says, 'Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.' Happiness will always follow those who put into practice what they are learning from God.
Lastly, happy people LEAD others to the Lord. Jesus, as He was going to the Father in Heaven, left these final instructions to His disciples. He said in Matthew 28:19, 'Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations...' Disciples of Christ make (LEAD) disciples of Christ. Because we are learning from God, and living out what we are learning, we naturally want to lead others. This is what makes happy people who attend the same church.
By the way, Joani and I are so happy to be the pastors of this HAPPY CHURCH!