The Inaugural Healthy Church Conference

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See the 2022 Flyer. Stay tuned for audio recordings of the sessions.

The inaugural Healthy Church Conference took place in Frankfort, Indiana, on August 25–27. For the past six years, the Frankfort Bible Holiness Church has held a conference focused on discipleship. This year Holy Joys and FBHC joined as co-sponsors. Beginning in 2023, Holy Joys will direct the conference in the same location.

The conference opened on Thursday evening with Dr. Avery speaking on the question, “What is a healthy church?” He offered eleven values of a healthy church. Afterwards there was forty-five minutes of Q&A. We closed the evening with table fellowship and refreshments where people could continue to converse.

On Friday morning, we again met for breakfast and table fellowship in the Commons. Then we opened the day’s sessions with an hour of worship-based prayer, led by Travis Johnson. He modeled beautifully the ACTS paradigm of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. Seth and Heidi Wetherald led songs of worship between each component of prayer. God stirred our hearts and minds in preparation for the instruction of the day.

Dr. Avery spoke in the second Friday session and made two points regarding a healthy church. First, healthy churches identify and eliminate the toxins. He identified six common toxic behaviors within the church. Second, healthy churches determine honestly what their actions say they value.

I spoke in the third, Friday morning session on the topic of Healthy Membership. My points were drawn from Colossians 2:19, Ephesians 4:16, and the book of 1 Corinthians. Church membership is designed by God to increase harmony and holiness in the church. Listen to the audio recording.

On Friday afternoon, Dr. Andrew Graham spoke about the church being a healthy place for survivors of trauma. A healthy church is one that listens, cares, and responds well to reports of misconduct. This session was followed with Q&A.

Dr. Avery spoke on Friday evening about the church’s identity. Churches in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition are marked by certain distinctives: a distinctive theological view, a distinctive view of the church, a distinctive view of life, and a distinctive view of spiritual experience. A time of Q&A followed, along with fellowship and refreshments in the Commons.

On Saturday morning, Dr. Fry shared a brief devotional thought from the story of blind Bartimaeus. We prayed for God to reveal to us our blind areas.

Sarah Fry spoke in the first Saturday session on how to be an emotionally healthy church. A healthy church is one where people are learning both how to regulate their own emotions and treat lovingly other people’s emotions. We easily fall into a “fix-it” mentality. We love one another by listening and letting others know that we are safe for them. Listen to the audio recording.

Dr. Avery spoke in the second Saturday session about creating a values-driven culture. A healthy church knows what it values and should be able to name five to seven core values in a brief and moving way. Strong values attract the right people, and right values result in right actions.

The conference wrapped up by noon with all the speakers participating in Q&A. Participants felt free to speak honestly and openly. Table conversation between sessions was an important component. We are already planning and looking forward to next year’s Healthy Church Conference on August 24–26, 2023.

David Fry
Senior Pastor at the Frankfort Bible Holiness Church. PhD in Systematic Theology (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). MDiv in New Testament Theology (Wesley Biblical Seminary).