How does a church determine if its healthy?
It seems like a simple questions but I doubt its really that simple. For example, those inside the church will almost always be either over critic of what is happening or overly generous. This leads to a very unbalanced approach when it comes to trying to gauge the health of the local body.
You also can’t depend on those outside to tell you how healthy a church is. For one reason they aren’t involved in the local body and therefore have no really idea of what is going on. Those outside only see the bigger things or hear the small rumors that come out from disgruntled members. These leads to a he-said-she-said approach to gauge health and it will never give an accurate read
So where does this leave us? Haven’t we determined that every is out of the picture. Can no one really determine how the church is doing?
I think the answer can be found in its fruit and not so much in its words. What I mean is that you can have people talk all day about how great a church is and then a day later run into someone that thinks its the place where the anti-Christ preaches. Instead look at its fruit.
Below are, what I believe to be, the four marks of a healthy church:
1. It Loves Because Jesus Loves: A church that is healthy will not only talk about is love for people but will show it. They will have people that are welcoming, friendly and open with their lives. They will have a deep love for the body, but also a deep love for their community.
2 It Gives Because Jesus Gave: A church that is healthy will not take but give. This church understands that Jesus gave it all and they, living changed lives, are to give as well. This means that they give generously to others when those outside the church do not. This means funds and opportunities setup intentionally to meet the needs of their community and volunteers that are willing to give of their time. Most importantly they give without wanting anything in return.
3. It Prays Like Jesus Prays: A church that is healthy will set aside purposeful times to pray for the Holy Spirits lead. This church seeks God before it seeks human understanding. Practically this means that the local body understands that prayer is something you do all week, not just Sunday morning. Prayer is the foundation of a healthy church because it understands that with only human knowledge it will fail in its mission to spread the Gospel.
4. It Teaches Like Jesus Taught: A church that is healthy will put a great emphases on the word. This church will teach the Word so that sinners can be saved, disciples can be made and the world will be changed.
My hope and prayers is that the church you attend is healthy and growing by God’s grace. I hope that you are plugged in and active and not just sitting in the pew lettering everyone else do the work, because if you are your really missing out on what God can do through you.
If you don’t have a church a quick Google search will pull up enough results to keep you busy for a few months. Be careful though, not all churches are good and not all churches are healthy. Pray and seek God on which church is right for you and your family.