“Happy” is a nebulous term. It is usually understood better than defined. So I know I am taking a risk when I used such a subjective word.
Please allow me to explain. For almost twenty years, I served as a consultant to churches in the United States and Canada. After working with hundreds of churches, I saw several patterns develop. One of those patterns correlated directly with the happiness of the church. I was able to discern happiness by the interviews with members and staff, with diagnostic tools we used, and with a grasp of the histories of the churches, particularly in the area of church conflict.
Recently I reviewed the files of 17 of the happiest churches where I consulted. As is typical in consultations, patterns emerged. In the case of these churches, I found nine common characteristics among the congregations. In each case, the characteristic seemed to contribute to the overall happiness of the churches.
- The pastor was a strong leader, but not an autocratic leader. He was able to maintain that healthy balance of providing clarity of vision without imposing his will on…