Reading about the damage caused by a toxic church in Dr. Chris’ first book titled “Toxic Church,” one could be tempted to think that there’s no redemption for a toxic church or people. But this sequela has rekindled my hope in the Church. That’s the good news in this book.
Like any good doctor would do before making a prescription for treatment, the author dug into the root of the problem tracing the cause of toxicity and dysfunction in a Christian life and church ministry to the Fall narrative in Genesis 3. This created the “Abuse Cycle” and our deep yearning for acceptance. Unfortunately, we all carry this baggage through life and contaminate everything in our path with this toxicity unless an intentional cure is sought.
Today, when we hear the word addiction, there are so many of us that would never regard it as one of our problems as long as we’re not substance or alcohol dependent. Yet, there’s in every one of us the longing for acceptance and approval which comes with the same intensity as a dope. And this has created all kinds of negative roles and scripts which we unknowingly follow and play like a professional actor or actress.
When one is able to recognize this subtle but real problem, it’s the beginning of the cure for this dysfunction. The author carefully unveils this hidden monster with several examples and did a good job at revealing the cure which is confession. His understanding of confession goes beyond the usual grain. According to him, it’s not just the “act” that we confess, we also confess the root cause of the act, and that is what brings about deliverance from the addiction. That’s very insightful.
In dealing with people with destructive roles in the church, the author prescribe confrontation and how to go about it. While so many of our culture tries to avoid this step, yet, it’s the only biblical antidote to this evil but he then describes how to confront without being confrontational.
But more importantly for me in the book is the author’s prescription on curbing toxicity in the church which he describes in greater details in Part 5 of the book, and that is discipleship. As noted by him, “The result of the discipleship process is a progressive alienation between the disciple and the world as the disciple grows more to value the love of Jesus and ceases to value the acceptance of men.” When a church is intentional in disciple-making, it can go a long way in alleviating this evil and brings about a healthy church.
This work will be a good reference book for Church Health Consultant and Interim Pastors as it also comes with materials for small group discussion. Lead/Senior/Executive Pastor and members of the Church Board will find great insights from the pages of this book as well. This book is a must read for anyone who is serious about church health. As Rick Warren mentioned, many churches are not growing today because they are dysfunctional. When there is health in the church, there’s bound to be growth. It is automatic.
I sincerely commend Dr. Chris Creech for a job well done. This is a great blessing to the Church of Jesus Christ.
Tunji Olasunkanmi PhD (cand)
Pastor, Bible Teacher, Leadership & Personal Development Coach