When Should You Have A Special Healing Service At Your Church? Try Never

One does not have to google very long to find an order of worship for a special church service on healing. Be slow to employ these. Jesus never did a special healing service, and the reason why is very telling.

First, a Scripture, Mark 3:1-6 from the NIV:

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him.And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man,“Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

At first it’s hard to imagine why the Pharisees and the Herodians are so eager to destroy Jesus just for healing a man on the Sabbath. And then we come to a realization.

Jesus hadn’t been invited to preach in the synagogue that day.

In essence, Jesus blows up someone else’s service. Busts in and while someone else is preaching their three-points-and-a-poem sermon, sees a sick man and looks around, incredulous that everyone else is simply staring forward listening to today’s encouraging message and not lifting a hand to help. So instead of taking his seat and listening quietly, he heals the man and throws the service into chaos.

Try that in any church this Sunday and see how well it goes for you.

For Jesus, the idea of a special healing service would be passing strange. Not because healing ministry would be passing strange but because engaging in worship while oblivious to the pain or physical need of the person sitting next to you would be to him an outrage.

To Jesus a “special healing service” would be like saying “Today is a special service for the poor!” or “Today we reconcile with each other before we partake of the Lord’s Supper!” There are certain things that ought never to be relegated to the status of special. Healing is one of them. For Christians, healing and comforting is normal. It has always been our hallmark across the millennia to heal those who are sick, to share our bread with the poor, to be at peace with others so far as it depends on us. These are not special worship service themes. They are daily service opportunities.

So next time you walk into a worship service and see a person who is suffering, signal for a time out in the pastor’s message, call over an usher or two and maybe even a few elders, and pray for the one who is sick.

It won’t be popular. The worship planning committee would rather you wait for next month’s special healing service. But in doing it you will mirror the love of Christ, who never walked past an illness without regarding it as an interloper in the human frame.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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