The Longing for Homeostasis

Posted: March 19, 2009 in Church, vision

HOMEOSTASIS is a big fancy word that comes from two Greek words combined meaning “same” and standing still.”

All systems and organizations long for HOMEOSTASIS.  Homeostasis is the property of a system that regulates its internal environment and attempts to maintain a constant and stable condition.

Everything longs for homeostasis – relationships, companies, institutions, families, and churches.  When something is knocked off balance – the desire for homeostasis will kick in and attempt to bring it back into balance (often in very unhealthy ways…and often in overreaction). 

Anything can create a disruption to the state of homeostasis – good or bad.  Having a new baby can be a wonderful thing – but it is a HUGE disruption of homeostasis (for mom, dad, siblings, etc.).  Of course tragic events (e.g., affairs, death, scandals, disease, etc.) can have the same effect on homeostasis.

Churches long for a state of homeostasis.  In fact, many leaders commit themselves in energy and time to the constant preservation of homeostasis – keeping things the same, balanced, consistent, and stable. 

But the problem is:


There are seasons when a church needs to experience homeostasis (who can live in constant disequilibrium?), but NOTHING powerful, transforming, or great EVER happens out of a state of homeostasis. 

So why then do so many churches and leaders do everything they can to keep homeostasis; to keep everyone happy, content, and intent on the promotion of the status quo?  Because they have bought into the lie that convinced them that keeping everyone happy is the way to build a church (and they are chicken 🙂 ).  The truth is, if you have committed yourself to keeping everyone happy, you have committed yourself to a slow death.  A constant status quo church is a dying church. It might take years or even decades – but it is moving towards death.  

People will attend a church in perpetual homeostasis BUT they won’t give their life to it (especially men).  They won’t, because it doesn’t require it.  There is nothing in it that moves towards adventure, risk, danger, ingenuity, creativity, and problem-solving (by the way…these qualities are what motivates men). 

Kingdom leaders know when to push off balance…and risk the loss of homeostasis for something GREAT in the Kingdom of God.  So, in spite of the natural longing for homeostasis, when God calls…jump off the beam and into an unbalanced unknown.  It is the ONLY way God advances his Kingdom.

Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.  I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”Jesus (Matthew 10:34)

  1. alex says:

    Change is always good. People love change and trying something new. But unpreparedness (?) toward change is what makes people unhappy.

  2. Jennie_Upside_Down says:

    She looks hungry. We should mail her a sandwich.
    I re-read your entry twice but I was distracted by the emaciated gymnast.

  3. Kneip says:

    This is actually Cynthia. Sam, very interesting. I had never thought about that and think you are exactly right. You never cease to make me go “hmmm”. Thanks.

  4. Jim Ruth says:

    You hit the nail right on the head. Once a country club mentality creeps in then the church is in trouble. You will want only people that look like you, talk like you, dress like you and think like you. That leaves no room for the people Jesus wanted to be around. It is up to all of us to continue to build a testimony of what God is doing in our lives NOW, not 20 years ago. People don’t want to hear a history lesson, they want to hear about current events. We are never too old or too young for God to use us for His ministry. Great post!

  5. […] motivated to do something differently.  Like other institutions, churches default towards “homeostasis” – without an ongoing impulse towards change and revitalisation they act in ways that […]

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