Church isn’t a museum for good people. Church is a hospital for the broken.
If this quote is true then let’s examine some of the things a hospital has and compare them to what a healthy church needs and should actively be doing.
How do we respond as a church? Do we know what to do or what to say? Often we do not, so we just keep silent or turn away. God forbid!
Parallel the following hospital responsibilities with those of the church.
There are many people who contribute to your care while you are in the hospital. Numerous people and services work together to provide you with successful treatment in a hospital, from medical assessments and daily treatment to medication and catering.
The key roles for staff in a hospital can be broadly categorized into four areas being:
- doctors (medical staff)
- allied health professionals
- support staff.
All these people will play an important role in your treatment and recovery.
Think of all the people a church needs every service.
- Sunday School teachers & Nursery workers
- Musicians and Singers
- Greeters and Altar Workers
People should always be welcome. You and I both know which hospitals to avoid in our city. We all have those horror stories of the hospital that didn’t serve breakfast or lunch at the right time and when they did get around to feeding the patient, the food was soggy and tasteless or the scary time when the hospital put the wrong name tag on your wrist (or in my sister’s case, her baby’s wrist!!) Some people say a family knows within the first eight minutes of driving into the parking lot of a church whether they will return or not. You get a feeling of the atmosphere of a hospital the moment you get out of the vehicle and meet the front desk receptionist.
- Is she bored? Smacking on gum and playing on her phone? Does she greet you with dead eyes and reluctance?
- Is she a drill sergeant who never meets your eyes but wants to know all your details and insurance cards and living will info immediately?
- Does she smile warmly and immediately assess the situation and make you and your companions feel like you are in good hands? You no longer have to panic. You can rest now, someone is going to make everything better.
People should be told the truth with compassion. When my daughter needed her fifth ear surgery, my heart was overwhelmed. I cried. The doctor waited and watched and reassured me that we were on the right track. Negative news must be delivered, but it doesn’t have to be thrown at someone. There are cancers that must be cut out and surgeries that have to be scheduled immediately but the delivery of the news can be softened with a kind touch and reassurance. Doctors and nurses rally together to make the family know they are in the right place. Healing takes place in this room. We have the source of healing here. You are safe here. We are not here to hurt you.
- Creating a positive and productive work culture through leadership.
- Setting the standards for excellence in operations.
- Hiring and ensuring qualified staff.
- Maintaining high quality in the delivery of patient care.
- Implement clinical policies and procedures.
Stop and think about that for a moment.
- Are our churches creating a positive and productive place for families to come and worship?
- Do we have adequate Sunday school teachers and nursery workers to help aid the parents and give them the relief they need to take a mental break and concentrate on the service?
What is the moral responsibility of a hospital? A portion of the answer stood out to me and I copied it here: The responsibility is primarily administrative, with duties owed to its patients, health professionals, and the community served. The hospital’s primary obligations are to develop norms to which the hospital and staff must conform, to serve patients by providing the best care possible, to allocate resources so as most effectively to respond to the needs of the community.
If the church is to be like a hospital then some of the moral responsibility would include:
- serving the guests and church family by providing the best services for all ages and church leaders as possible
- responding to the needs of the local community effectively
Roles and Responsibilities of Hospitals and Public Health Units include:
- The hospital is the lead for CDI infection prevention and control, outbreak reporting and outbreak management for their facility. *Hospitals are on top of what is going on in their city. Is there a wide-spread virus going around? Hospitals are proactive and ready to administer whatever medicines are needed.
Outbreak Management-which includes Coordinating the education of staff, patients, volunteers, and visitors regarding outbreak infection prevention and control measures. *Hospitals are on top of educating and making people aware of the dangers and ways to keep oneself healthy. They send out warnings and provide education.
***(We as a church must have our eyes and fingers and ears on the heartbeat of our city. What problems does our city deal with that other cities might not and how can we as a church fix those problems? Examples would include: homelessness, hunger, large numbers of high school drop outs, human trafficking and prostitution, gambling, theft, unplanned pregnancies, abortions, domestic violence, AIDS, gangs)
Emergency and Trauma Care
If you have a medical emergency or are in an accident and an ambulance is called, paramedics are the people who care for you and they may take you to the emergency department.
***(This would be our Outreach team, Sunday school Van drivers and Bible Study groups–Laborers going into the fields to bring those to church who do not have a way)
If you have a medical emergency or serious accident, paramedics are the medical team who arrive by ambulance to assess your medical condition and treat you before taking you to hospital. They manage your treatment on the way to hospital until you are in the care of the emergency department.
- provide advanced life support
- perform clinical procedures
- decide which hospital or medical facility is the most appropriate for their patient.
A triage nurse sees you when you first arrive at the emergency department to work out how serious your illness or injury, provide first aid and prioritize your care.
***(This would be our First Impressions team and Bible study leaders who points you in the right direction to the right small group that would fit your need whether it be for Singles, Youth, Addiction Recovery Support group, or a Marriage class, etc.)
Studying online, I came across a list of great questions I wanted to share from This Site–
Comparing a hospital to your church, ask yourself the following questions. Which ones do you need to work on?
- How welcoming are we to a variety of people?
- Do we expect something of them or have prejudices that draw or repel us?
- Do we speak plainly and simply?
- Do we answer their questions instead of pushing our agendas?
- Do we speak the truth in love?
- Are we willing to live with others even when it is messy and risky, or do we try to keep our lives sterile, protecting ourselves from potential struggles, sacrifices, and inconveniences?
And continuing in the vein of comparing churches to hospitals- There are so many times a hospital realizes it has done all it can do for a patient and refers that patient to another hospital for specialized care. I sincerely believe that churches should be working together hand in hand helping one another instead of back-biting, slashing and tearing down one another in jealousy.
One hospital may specialize in cancer treatments while another has an excellent maternity ward and NICU-neither are better than the other. Both are vital components for healthy patients.
One church may have a well oiled system concerning small groups and after care for divorcees and addicts. They may specialize in walking with people who have hang ups and habits while another church may have an incredible Sunday school program for children and an amazing youth department with a healthy Hyphen College and Career program for young singles straight out of high school. Another church may be incredibly missions-minded and burdened for sending laborers to overseas missions.
None of these churches have to be in competition.
There is so much more in-depth studying I could do but this is just a small taste of how we can think about our churches. I hope this helps in someway. I plan to also blog on how a church can unfortunately be parallel to a museum. PLEASE feel free share or leave me a comment or add your own additional notes below about how a hospital compares to a church and vice versa. I do not in any way think my opinion is one of any significance concerning starting churches or running churches or daughter works or any other type of church we attend and maintain. This is just a product of thoughts running through my head concerning the quote we so often use.