How Healthy Is Your Church?

I spend time in a lot of different churches for different reasons. I’ve cultivated, connected and coached church planters for almost a decade while on staff at a medium-size church. I teach and consult with some really large churches. I’ve worked with autonomous church plants, denominational church plants, multisites and small parish locations.

People often assume I’m in favor of large churches because teaching to more bodies and training more staff creates a bigger adrenaline rush. Others assume I’m in favor of small churches because of their purity to the mission and apparent simplicity. Others assume I like any church on the edge of taking a risk to launch something new.

Honestly, I just love Jesus’ church. I’m for churches of all sizes following various models as long as they’re healthy. I’ve seen small churches orbiting around one person’s whims and avoiding accountability. I’ve seen large churches led humbly and resourcing their communities in amazing ways. I’ve seen medium-size churches laser focused on living their mission and loving people well. It boils down to this: The size of your church creates issues you must wrestle with, but it doesn’t determine your church’s health.

Health never happens on accident. Never. As church leaders we often become chasers of the urgent and avoiders of the important. When Sunday is coming, we often get sucked into planning the next series or launching the next discipleship process and we forget why it matters. Numerical growth stretches our teams. New hires stretch our thinking. Continuous grief in those we serve stretches our empathy. Busy seasons stretch our schedules.

Perhaps it’s time to set aside some time to rise above the urgent things currently stretching you and the church you serve so you can focus on the important. Comb through these five questions with your team and make sure you’re on the right track.

• Is your church healthy? Make a list of areas that seem to be healthy and unhealthy right now. Talk about them as a team. Pray about which areas should be getting the best energy from your team.

• Is your church simplifying? We naturally spin toward complexity. Brainstorm ways to eliminate the nonessential and clarify your processes. Trim the fat and eliminate complexities wherever you can.

• Is your church living the mission? Mission drift comes for us all. Make a list of specific ways your team is living your mission. Gauge everything you do against whether it accomplishes the mission.

• Is your church sustainable? Reevaluate whether your team can continue to sustain the current pace, budget and ministry opportunities. Reevaluate the energy of your team members. Reevaluate how effective new ministry initiatives are.

• Is your church authentic? Take time to honestly evaluate whether your church is the church God designed it to be, not just a cheap knockoff of another church. Look for where the DNA of your church is truly being lived out.

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Alan Briggs
Alan Briggs

Alan Briggs, an Outreach magazine contributing editor, is crazy about helping kingdom leaders uncover clarity, courage and health. He is a leadership coach, sabbatical coach, writer and podcaster. His experience as a pastor and church planting catalyst inform all of his work. Join the conversation at Stay Forth Leadership Podcast