Influence of Church Leadership on Congregant Wellbeing

Welcome back to my blog. I’m happy that you can visit. The purpose of Teleios is to use the scientific method to show the validity of God’s word as wisdom and guidance in our daily life.

The term that we use most commonly to show the influence of God’s word in a believer’s life is ‘wellbeing’. This is not a biblical word, but it is accepted in the medical literature. Other biblically used words have been related to it in medical studies such as joy, peace, contentment and purpose.

Teleios has discovered through its research that Christians who have a knowledge of their salvation, understand that they are eternally secure, and are adherent to their faith [in praise, prayer, fellowship, teaching others and personal Bible study (Acts 2:42,47)] demonstrate better wellbeing than professed Christians who do not possess these characteristics.

We wished to further evaluate any links between a believer’s wellbeing and their perception of their church and its leadership. To do this we recently performed a survey in 6 Bible-believing churches in the Midwest and California in conjunction with Scott Barfoot, a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.

There were 115 participants in the survey. They categorized themselves as overwhelmingly evangelical (97%), expressed confidence in their acceptance by God based on grace (97%) and in the security of their salvation (88%). The highest ratings for adherence to their faith was for prayer and praise (95% and 92%, respectively).

Our survey found that participants in evangelical churches almost always rated their personal wellbeing as good or very good (about 90%). Similar findings were shown in surrogate markers of wellbeing including contentment, peace, joy and purpose (1). Only about 5% indicated any level of negative wellbeing.

However, there was no control group in our study and our rating scale for wellbeing was unique to our survey, so based on our data it was difficult to make firm conclusions regarding evangelical wellbeing compared to other population groups. Other recent data notes that Americans rate their personal wellbeing on average as 6.9 of 10 (2). Pew indicates that in the Americas between 30-42% of people note that they are thriving in individual aspects of personal wellbeing (3).

However, such high wellbeing ratings for Christians, found in our study, are not surprising because the Bible indicates that we can receive the fruit of the Spirit such as joy and peace, among others (Galatians 5:22). A Christian who has believed in Christ for forgiveness of their sins by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) possesses the Holy Spirit as a promise (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13). Believers then may cooperate with the Holy Spirit to develop these wonderful characteristics. Consequently, we can have excellent wellbeing through the power of the Spirit operating in our lives.

How do we obtain this good wellbeing? That’s the big question!

Since as Christians we have the Holy Spirit and we are not to quench or grieve Him (I Thessalonians 5:19, Ephesians 4:30), but to mature in our thinking and actions consistent with the Spirit (Romans 8:5, Galatians 5:16, 24) and to use His power to overcome to the ungodly attributes (Romans 8:13). Importantly, the Spirit operates in us by the use of God’s Word [the Bible is the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17)].

Consequently, we should realize that we have the Spirit wholly and we should not restrict Him through sin. In contrast, we should actively learn and follow God’s Word which allows the Spirit to function in our lives to develop us into a more Christ-like person who manifests peace and joy; otherwise good wellbeing! Got it?  God has something great for you!

Thanks for reading my blog. I hope that you’ll come back again next week.

WC Stewart

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