Our youngest have recently gotten into watching Duck Dynasty reruns. I love the confidence Phil Robertson has teaching his grand kids the good life. There's not much about chopping the heads off bullfrogs or eating squirrel stew that excites me, but a life lived God's way in the creation he gave us is sure to make us "Happy, happy, happy." Church is a place to pursue that together.
Andy Stanley writes in Deep & Wide, "This is a book about how to make your church more appealing to the people who are put off by all the shenanigans that give church, big churches in particular, a bad name... I think every church should be a church irreligious people love to attend. Why? Because the church is the local expression of the presence of Jesus. We are his body. And since people who were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus, people who are nothing like Jesus should like us as well. There should be something about us that causes them to gather at the periphery and stare."
When I wrote Happy Church: Pursuing Radical Joy as the People of God, that's exactly what I was trying to address. I saw too many churches giving up on the joyful community. Denominational infighting sapped the energies of the most passionate believers as they battled the 'enemy' inside the gates. Cultural slip away from biblical moorings and loss of influence on the common good left church leaders feeling listless and irrelevant. Popular culture made God out to be a dreary and angry deity out to get us and rob us of life, while we knew that wasn't true. We have to restore the happiness community, the church resting in the radical joy of knowing Jesus.
The world is on a desperate search for happiness. The most popular new class at Yale University is a course on finding happiness. Everyone pursues happiness, but do they know where to truly find it?
A healthy church is a happiness community rooted in the goodness of Jesus. A body of people resting in the joy of knowing Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. God knows the world is seeking happiness. God knows true joy is found in knowing and serving him. It's our responsibility to share the happiness we know in the presence of Christ. I hope you are part of the greatest community on earth--the happiness community.
"Happy the people whose God is the Lord." --Psalm 144:15