In three weeks I am scheduled to visit my family doctor for an annual physical exam.  It’s going to cost me time and money, and given the fact that I feel healthier than ever before, why bother?  I have no physical complaints and there’s part of me that thinks, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”.  However, family health history and years of working with people have persuaded me that I should remain proactive when it comes to my health.  Such proactivity literally saved my wife’s life on two occasions.  I’m convinced it’s important.

If being proactive is important for my physical health, it stands to reason that the same is true for my spiritual health and the health of my church.  Church leader, how healthy are you?   How healthy is your church?   I believe there is a direct correlation between the two and I will explore that correlation in a future blog.  For now, let me talk about the health of the church.

Church leaders would be wise to become increasingly proactive when it comes to the health of their church.  “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”, is a mindset that could be fatal.  Regular examinations are critical for long term church health.  Looking beneath the surface and inviting objective evaluation should be the norm for every church, but in most cases it is the exception.

I founded ChurchHealth180 for the purpose of helping churches and leaders fulfill this important responsibility.  We can help churches examine and evaluate their ministry, and then develop strategic steps to improve their health profile.

In order to move toward greater health, a leader needs to know what a healthy church looks like.  I’m writing this blog to help you envision what it looks like to be a healthy church.  After all, you probably won’t pursue want you cannot envision.

Here are some characteristics of a healthy church:

  • The central focus is on Jesus.  Everyone is keenly aware that this church is all about Jesus.  The church has a reputation of being Christ centered.  There is evidence of deepening devotion to Jesus as seen in public worship, small group interactions, and individual transformation.
  • The church adheres to the truth of God’s Word.  Scripture is the foundation of preaching, teaching and life application across the spectrum of church ministries.  Vision and strategy develop through the grid of God’s Word.
  • There is strong, visionary leadership.  Forward looking leaders, grounded in God’s Word and godly in character, paint a biblical picture of a preferred future for the church.  The leaders inspire God’s people to move to the next level of their journey of following Christ.
  • Strategic planning is constantly taking place.  Compelled forward by a biblical vision, the leaders are constantly developing action steps to move the church forward in its mission.  Plans and goals are established to give focus to the resources of the church (people, time, money and energy).
  • There is evidence of sacrificial love.  The love of believers toward one another and toward those outside the church is a distinguishing mark.  This love speaks to the authenticity of their faith.
  • People are coming to faith in Christ on a regular basis.  Life transformation is normative in a healthy church.  Conversions to Christ are being witnessed by others in worship services, small groups, and personal encounters with unbelievers.
  • First impressions reveal an attractive church.  Worship, preaching, programs, facilities and human connections all reflect a church that is the radiant bride of Christ.
  • Faith is palpable, believing God will do amazing things.  First time guests and life-long members experience a church body expecting God to act in real time.  The people are not living in a faded memory of “yesteryear” or the vague dream of “someday”, but walking by faith and believing that God will show up in the here and now.
  • The people are challenged to grow in their walk with Christ.  Everyone is challenged to take their walk with the Lord to the next level of spiritual maturity.  This includes the discovery and use of spiritual gifts, personal study of God’s Word and prayer, and ownership of the mission of the church.
  • The people are equipped for service in the kingdom.  The church has a culture of mentoring, discipleship and training.  Emphasis is placed on preparing God’s people for service rather than filling vacancies.
  • There’s a constant expectation of guests and they are treated as a gift from God.  Whether in large gatherings or small groups, the people are always looking for someone they don’t know and then initiating relational connections.  They view these new people as gifts that God has entrusted to them.

How healthy is your church?

One of the characteristics I mentioned had to do with first impressions.  ChurchHealth180 offers a service to your church called First Impressions Audit.  If you are interested in this audit, I will come to your church as a visitor, unannounced to your congregation.   Following my visit I will draft a detailed written report of my first impressions and recommendations and will submit the report to your leadership team.  Upon receiving the report, you can use the information on your own or you can request that I meet with your leaders to follow-up on the findings and recommendations.  At that meeting we will discuss the issues and recommendations, answer your questions, and assist you in the development of an action plan.  You may be surprised to see how God can use such a simple tool to move a church toward greater health.   If you are interested in receiving a First Impressions Audit, or other services offered by ChurchHealth180, please contact me via our website for details and fees.