A nice or new building doesn’t make a church a healthy church. Big numbers of people don’t make a church a healthy church. Big budgets don’t make a church a healthy church. So what does make a healthy church? What does a healthy church look like?
Here are what I believe are 10 traits of a healthy church …
- Healthy churches talk about Jesus all the time. Their main focus isn’t their building, their budget or their bottom line, it’s Jesus. Healthy churches don’t need gimmicks, they have Jesus. He’s at the center of everything they do and teach. You cannot over teach/preach Jesus. He IS the message.
- Healthy churches are intentional in making disciples. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples…” and that’s the goal of a healthy church. Too many times, churches are guilty of simply making believers and not continuing to make those believers into disciples.
- Healthy churches involve people. Healthy churches don’t have 10% of the people doing 90% of the work. You’ve got to incorporate and involve people. Let them know they are needed.
- Healthy churches use the Bible. It’s the best book ever. It’s full of answers for people’s lives. To use something other than the bible is stupid. When we teach the bible, we must teach about relationship not just facts. Knowing the 66 books of the bible in order, how old Methuselah was, or the names of the 12 apostles WON’T get you to heaven. Knowing Jesus and having a relationship with him WILL get you to heaven. We must teach the bible.
- Healthy churches put a BIG focus on children. Children are the future. You cannot put too much emphasis on the youth and children. VBS, bible classes, youth functions and youth ministers are all valuable assets in reaching, teaching and raising youth. A sign your church is dying is when worship is quiet and there are no children.
- Healthy churches teach the Bible in a way people can understand. A lesson taught or preached without any application is a great mistake. People must be challenged. People need practical lessons that will help in their daily lives. God didn’t make the bible difficult, so churches don’t need to either.
- Healthy churches open their arms and lives to others. Healthy churches know that there are times when physical needs are more important than spiritual needs. As the old saying goes, “People don’t care about what you know, until they know how much you care.” The church is not just about learning Christianity, it’s about LIVING like Christ. Church isn’t about what you do on Sunday during worship, but about how you love others in your community during the week.
- Healthy churches are actively involved in outreach. One of the traits of a healthy church is they are always looking for ways to reach out to the lost around them. Dying churches make no effort to reach their community around them. Unhealthy churches have replaced the great commission of “Go into all the world” with “The lights are on, come if you want.” A healthy church’s mission is to share the good news anyway they can.
- Healthy churches have leaders who lead. Churches will take on the personality of the leadership. If the leadership is passive and unwilling to set an example of the things mentioned above … the church will follow. But when a leadership stands up and goes to work, you watch, so will the church. Unhealthy church leadership is more concerned with being comfortable and keeping people happy, than discipleship.
- Healthy churches have an atmosphere where people will want to bring their unchurched friends. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard in the past, “The last place I wanted to bring my friend was to church, because I knew the preacher would say something to embarrass them or me.” How sad. The church needs to be a safe environment where people know they can bring family or friends without them getting their “hides nailed to the wall.”
What traits would you like to add?