“Church growth is a ‘basic instinct’ for church leaders. However, church growth without church health is asking for trouble.”
We all want to reach more people for Jesus. Church growth is a “basic instinct” for church leaders. That’s a New Testament principle, not a fad. However, church growth without church health is asking for trouble.
Candidly, you can grow your church for the short term without being a healthy organization, but this eventually leads to low morale and loss of momentum. Focusing on church health supports and enhances church growth.
1. Spiritual Intensity
When it comes to being a spiritually healthy church, few things trump the passion with which you chase God. Your personal pursuit of God as a leader finds its way into the culture of the church. If you are casual about your spiritual life, your people will be casual about theirs. This manifests itself primarily in three areas: prayer, evangelism and worship. When the spiritual intensity is where it should be, those three things find a natural, fresh and enthusiastic expression in your church.
2. Stories of Life Change
This is one of the best ways to assess the health of your church. Do you hear stories of life change? Stories about salvation, marriages restored, addictions conquered and more. Make it a point to cultivate and capture these stories. Look for them and tell them. At 12Stone, we will often capture the story on film and incorporate it in a Sunday worship service. These stories are such an encouragement to others. It helps them believe life change is possible for them, too!
3. High Staff Morale
Whether your staff is large or small, the morale of the team matters. It’s been said that “morale leaks.” It’s true. The morale of the staff always finds its way into the congregation. If the staff is healthy, you dramatically increase the likelihood that your congregation will share those healthy characteristics. Things such as honesty, authenticity, kindness, forgiveness, integrity, commitment, joy, hard work, love and extending the benefit of the doubt go a long way as you strive for a healthy church environment.
4. Vibrant Culture
Let’s ask the blunt culture question. When people attend your church for the first time, do they want to come back? That is very telling about your culture. Yes, there is more going on. It’s a spiritual battle. But, it’s not unlike when you go to a restaurant and you make a pretty quick and easy decision if you are going back. You either liked the culture (who they are and how they do things) or you didn’t. How attractive is your culture? Is it joyful, faith-filled, positive and inspiring? People want to be part of a healthy church culture.
5. Innovation in Ministry
Staying current, relevant and practical in ministry is an essential part of a healthy church. Innovation isn’t always about the latest and greatest. Innovation is often about fixing things that are broken and making things better. When you consider the significant leadership responsibility of raising up leaders to help lift the load, your best leaders are drawn toward ministry that works. Don’t be afraid to retool or even shut down what doesn’t work. The gospel remains the same, but our methods change.
6. Maturing Faith
New converts start out immature in their faith. That’s natural. As church leaders we have the privilege of helping guide and encourage Christ followers to grow in their faith. It’s a life-long journey, it’s messy and none of us ever fully arrive. Small-group ministry is a great way to help people mature. Don’t make a long list of things to check off to determine if people are maturing. Keep it simple. Again, look for stories of life change. Look for the fruit of the Spirit. Encourage and equip people so they can serve and invest in others. That’s church health!
7. Leadership Development
If it’s true that next to the favor of God, everything rises and falls on leadership, and I believe it is, then new and increasingly capable leaders are essential to a healthy church. If you are in a smaller church, don’t get overwhelmed by the needs. Just ask God to help you find one more leader. Just one more leader can change your church! If you are in a larger church, you already have people to help you raise up more leaders. So, what’s your plan? How will you find and develop the next leader(s) at your church?
This is my list. What would you add or delete?