What Is A Healthy Church?

September 30th, 2014
 
What does a healthy church look like? The most common answer to this question would be, "It looks like a large church or a growing church."
 
I believe that healthy churches are growing churches, but I also fear that this is far too simple an answer. Pastors and church leaders that focus on growth as the essential evidence of health may be trying too hard to concentrate on the externals. It never works out well when we do that.

Underneath, every healthy church looks the same – no matter what size it is. The principles that make Larger Churches Healthy are the same ones that make Smaller Churches Healthy. The same missteps can also kill that health.

A Biblical Model

One of the foundational principles of having a healthy church is to establish your model on a Scriptural Model rather than a Cultural Model. Your church will only please God if it is following the plan and the pattern of the Bible. Growth as a barometer of health, can lead to many unscriptural methods of ministry.
 
Every church needs a plan and a pattern to build upon, and that model is found in the Bible. In many contemporary churches today, success has become the model standard rather than using the standard found in the scriptures.

I do not think that there is one right personality for all churches, but all churches should be using the model based on the fundamentals the Saviour gave us – namely, the Great Commission and the Growth of Christians. Although every church has its own personality and its own flavor, it is essential that we pick a Biblically based model and stick with it.

Fortunately, much of this work has already been done for us. There are some great models to help a church understand what a Biblical approach to ministry looks like. Some of the elements that all healthy churches have in common would include these:

·         Servant Leadership – Illustration
·         Gift-Oriented Ministry - Motivation
·         Passionate Spirituality - Attraction
·         Efficient Organizational Structures - Administration
·         Inspiring Worship Service - Inspiration
·         Zealous Preaching Focused - Information
·         Compassionate Evangelism - Transformation
·         Building Caring Relationships - Association
·         Missions Minded – Collaboration

A church that has all of these elements in balance would obviously be a healthy church, and no doubt, a growing church. When a church has a strong Biblical model, it will also be a church with a great love for the Bible.

A Biblical Motive

Unfortunately, too many ministry leaders have an agenda, and that agenda is only Success Focused, not Saviour Focused. I know, because early in my ministry I struggled with this conflict of agenda myself. Why we do what we do is just as important as what we do. Look at how subtly our hidden motives can impact church health:

     Success Focused Motives Look Like This:

·         Worship – So The Church Will Grow Larger
·         Discipleship – So The Church Will Grow Lager
·         Fellowship – So The Church Will Grow Larger
·         Ministry – So The Church Will Grow Larger
·         Evangelism – So The Church Will Grow Larger

Any church that focuses on these elements with that agenda behind them will not be a healthy church, no matter how well they are done. Of course, growing the church is a great goal, but it is important, especially in church leadership, to do the right things for the right reasons.

     Saviour Focused Motives Look Like This:

·         Worship – To Tell The Lord Jesus How Much We Love Him
·         Discipleship – To Help Us Become More Like Jesus Christ
·         Fellowship – To Love Our Brothers And Sisters In Christ More
·         Ministry – To Meet People’s Needs As We Show Them The Love Of Christ
·         Evangelism – To Bring People To Jesus Christ

Doing the right things for the right reasons will always produce a healthy church, even if it does not always build a big one.