One of the big trends in the fitness world is the CrossFit movement. Gyms around the globe are scrambling to offer meaningful workouts that exercise all parts of the body in a team-based environment. Perhaps we can learn something from this trend as we look closely at church health.
If you’ve spent any time in a healthy church you would know it. From the moment you walk in the door, interact with the people, or observe the activity of the congregation you would sense it. Healthy churches ooze life, energy, trust, and transformation. These churches maintain a contagious atmosphere that attracts, engages, and empowers people.
The flip side is true.
I am guessing most reading this post have endured a season or two in a church that was fighting one or more church health issues. When a church is unhealthy, it drains the life and energy out of its people. Often times, relational trust has broken down and life change is happening less frequently.
I firmly believe God’s desire is for every local church community is to be both healthy and thriving. Every neighborhood, village, city, and region around the world is hungry for more healthy, thriving churches.
So, we have an important question to ask: What is a healthy church?
Two Key Principals
- Church health is not about size. A large church can be unhealthy and a small church can be healthy.
- It is also not about the annual amount of the ministry dollars available to be invested. HGC has served unhealthy churches that were sitting on tens of thousands of dollars and other healthy churches that were working hard to stretch every penny they had for significant kingdom impact.
There are many ways to define a healthy church and some have crafted fantastic concise definitions, while others have developed key markers to determine church health that provide a wonderful framework. Our experience indicates there are four key factors that show up in a healthy local church.
Four Key Factors
For a church to be healthy she must see:
- People walking toward and across the line of faith. You must witness individuals who are separated from God come into a relationship with him through Jesus. How you do this depends on a lot of factors.
- Ongoing life change. You must see individuals becoming more mature in their relationship with Christ, growing in relationships, attitudes, actions, thoughts, and perspective. As they are transformed personally, the community in which they find themselves will be transformed as well.
- Disciple-making and church multiplication. Healthy churches see the Kingdom of God expand beyond itself. Healthy churches produce disciples of Jesus who reproduce themselves. When disciple-making is happening to a third and fourth generation, church multiplication will often result.
- Self-Sustaining (finances and people). Healthy churches are able to sustain themselves. This includes developed systems that produce the finances, people, and leaders to support the ongoing mission of the church.
Monitoring and managing church health is a constant dance. Church health is not a destination. It’s a dance for leaders, because church health is fluid, constantly changing. It needs a consistent set of eyes and the determination to address issues as they surface.
Is Your Church Healthy?
Pause for a moment and ask yourself a question: is the church in which you serve healthy? If your answer is no or you’re not sure, maybe it’s time for a gym membership and a 6-month CrossFit exercise plan! Maybe you just need to talk to one of our teammates for advice, coaching, or even some reassurance that you’re not alone! Whatever the case, we hope we can help you move to a more healthy place for the sake of the Kingdom.