I asked the question on this blog once, What makes a Church work? After listing various factors, I wrote: "My heartfelt answer is content and atmosphere, and both of these need deliberate work, publicly and privately." I shall focus here on the second of these, namely atmosphere. It is critical that a Church should maintain a good atmosphere -- so much so that this has been at the top of my list when beginning any new ministry, not to speak of the remainder of it. The source of a good atmosphere is this: if one has God's grace and blessing in mind, on His Church, one will always have something encouraging to think and to say. He is the source of a good atmosphere, because to trust Him is to be "upbeat". In fact the Lord Himself often said things such as "Let not your heart be troubled," or "Be of good cheer." People's natural tendency, though, would seem to be the opposite. Sometimes this may be because they have no saving relationship with the Lord, and therefore lack spiritual sight. Now when I speak of "deliberate work" on a Church's atmosphere, this includes firm and immediate counsel of members, even action, where anyone is troubling that atmosphere. That is crucial. One dare not drift in this area. OBSERVATION: An incident which stands out in my mind, in my earlier ministry, was a meeting where Elders and Deacons threatened to resign if I did not deal with people who were troubling the atmosphere -- and I did deal with them. At the end of the day, though, a minister can't take it too hard if he or she has done their best, with dependence on God. Not every destructive atmosphere can be cured.