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Doug Murren: Churches that Heal


Doug Murren, Churches that Heal: Becoming a Church That Mends Broken Hearts and Restores Shattered Lives (W. Monroe, LA: Howard Publishing Company, 1999), 256 pages.

The church needs to be about the work of healing people. Churches need to be places where the whole gospel is heard and people are wholly restored to what God intended. This kind of healing process in the community of believers glorifies God.

Doug Murren says that this book is not a theological treatise, but rather a process of looking at biblical texts and sharing true stories about healing. He relates several incidents of people receiving healing that happened during his ministry. He learned he had to teach people to reach out to those who were hurting and not criticize them. The church needs to create an environment of healing.

Answering the question as to why churches do not heal, Doug Murren relates that sometimes Christians work too hard and take themselves too seriously instead of planting people in an environment that will let them grow in the Lord and their healing. The church too often is not a safe place for people to let their guard down. They may have been injured and they will not take that risk again. He relates in this book that every decision we make as a Christian is driven by one of two motivations: fear or the power of God’s love in us. “When churches live in fear, they destroy leaders, and they send away broken people.”

Doug Murren

The church needs to create a healing environment. The author asks the question, “What does a healing environment look like?” It must feel like home. He lists three things that add to the healing environment. First, we must be willing to take responsibility. That is, set out to face your shortcomings and get the help you need. Second, we must be willing to work one act of love at a time. It is people who need healing. And third, we must pursue God. Each church has its own chemistry. People who become part of a healing church must have an intention of being obedient to God. He says that offering a healing environment is risky, and he illustrates this in the book.

So, how does the church change its environment? There are three basic factors that must be in place. First, is the desire to change, second, there must be within the group the energy to change, and thirdly, you must have a plan to change.

Another point that Doug makes is that a church can only help heal as many people as the strength of its core allows at any given time. They must pay the price of stepping out of their comfort zone, and many are not willing to do this.

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Category: Fall 2002, Ministry

About the Author: Carl J. Halquist went home to be with his Lord on April 7, 2021. Retired in 2014, most recently he had served as the Senior and Visitation Pastor at Trinity Assembly of God in Mt. Morris, Michigan. In full-time ministry since 1964, Pastor Carl served Assemblies of God churches in California, Indiana, and Michigan and served as a Sectional Presbyter for the Assemblies of God, Michigan District for 5 years.

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