Thursday, January 28, 2016

How healthy is your church?

My most popular book has been The Healthy Small Church: Diagnosis and Treatment for the Big Issues. Judicatory leaders have passed copies out to every church in their districts. One church asked me for 90 copies to pass out to every family. Once they received their copies they began a church-wide study of the book and invited me to lead a half-day seminar on healthy churches. I recently received word of another church that ordered copies for each person in their adult Church school and began a study of each chapter of the book. I've been invited to lead numerous seminars and conferences for various denominational groups in the US and Canada on this topic.

I cannot tell you how pleased I am that this book has been so well received and how many churches and leaders have found it helpful. There is nothing more exciting than a healthy church ministering to the community where God has placed it. Lives are changed in healthy churches. Marriages are restored, and people find renewed hope in such churches. Most important, people find salvation in Jesus Christ in healthy churches where the Gospel is proclaimed.

Unfortunately, many churches struggle with health related issues. Unhealthy churches are found in all size churches, and such churches are simply unable to function as God intends. Part of the reason I wrote the book was so these churches could diagnose themselves and identify what makes them unhealthy.

After spending the first 15 chapters exploring some the characteristics of a healthy church I conclude the book with a chapter to help churches diagnose themselves. In this chapter I provide questions that pertain to the prior 15 characteristics so the church can compare themselves to a healthy church. I further recommend that every church use these questions to give themselves a check-up every year to see how they are doing in each of these areas. Let me share just a few of these questions.

  • How many adults are involved in Bible study and faith development?
  • What is your church's vision?
  • How many people in your congregation can explain that vision to others?
  • What specific aspects of your worship service help people experience God?
  • How would you rate the spiritual maturity of your lay leaders?
  • How is the postmodern era in which we live affecting the ministry of your church?
By answering each of the questions included in this chapter your church will have a good idea of its overall health and if there are specific areas that need addressed. My recommendation is that the leadership review these questions annually and provide honest answers to each of the questions.

It's important to remember that God wants every church to be healthy. It's also important to remember that no matter how healthy your church might be, it can always be healthier. A healthy church is an exciting place in which to worship and to serve, and it makes the greatest impact on those it's called to serve. I encourage you to do everything possible to make your church the healthiest it can be.

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