Monday, June 25, 2012

5 Priorities for a Healthy Church

1. Serious Prayer. 

The average church has so established itself organizationally and financially that God is simply not necessary to it. So entrenched is its authority and so stable are the religious habits of its members that God could withdraw Himself completely from it and it could run on for years on its own momentum.  --A.W. Tozer

Though we tend to judge the health of a church by its size, its financial stability, its busy-ness, its median age, its baptism numbers, or its unity, the true measure of a church’s health can best be seen in its prayer life.  A church that does not pray, that does not pray a lot, that does not pray seriously, and does not pray pervasively is sick.

2. Centrality of Scripture.

The Bible is our final authority for faith and practice -- Bob Utley

A church that does not constantly learn and return to Scripture, and teach its members to do the same is sick. A church that focuses on precepts and principals, but does not teach its people the Scripture itself is feeding its members microwave meals and junk food.

A healthy church is one full of members who constantly engage the Bible on their own, even outside outside of church meetings, learning it, reflecting on it, singing it and sharing it with others, daily.

3. Obedience to Christ.

One of the most misquoted and misunderstood passages of the Bible is Matthew 28:18-20. Ask people, sometime, what this passage tells us to teach. I think you will be surprised by the number of people who will not say, “to obey.” -- David Watson

Healthy churches teach obedience to Christ’s commands, with baptism as the non-negotiable first step. Healthy churches are full of members who model this by being consistently obedient to the commands of Christ in public and in private, in word and in thought, regardless of the consequences.

These believers don’t leave worship gatherings satisfied to simply be inspired by new insights, rather they are resolved and committed to action.

4. Abundant, Relentless Laborers.

The Lord Jesus had compassion on the lost of this world. He sent 42 teams and said, “The harvest is ready but there is an acute shortage of harvesters.” Jesus gave a specific strategy for world evangelism “pray to the Lord of harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest fields.” Harvest is not the problem. Despite the huge Christian manpower in the world, there is a critical shortage of grass-root level harvest workers. -- Victor Choudhrie

A church whose focus is on filling the pews is sick. This kind of church keeps its laborers in bondage with assignments to simply sit passively, listen to sermons, and give money to support the show. It builds its own kingdom on a pastor’s personality at the expense of building God’s Kingdom.

Healthy churches are constantly training their people and sending them out to the harvest. They disciple from day one, not in classrooms with Bible study booklets, but by modeling and mentoring. Healthy churches never stop developing and sending new workers to strengthen existing ministries, the  start new new ones, and to labor in new harvest fields. They are always releasing their disciples to do even greater works according to their calling and giftedness.

5. Vision

Vision gets you on God's program and off your own. -- J. David Schmidt

Churches that have no understood vision or purpose other than to meet and have a worship service are very sick. Even when things are going smoothly and the church seems to be growing, a church without vision comes to a grinding halt as soon as the person they are following (usually the pastor) stops leading.

Healthy churches know what they are all about. They know their purpose and know why they are doing what they are doing. They take the great commission and build their strategies and tactics on those marching orders. Churches that do that succeed.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since you are talking about a healthy church you are relaying this message to pastors and that's good. Because I think a healthy church starts with a healthy pastor. If the pastor is not healthy then his followers will not be healthy. Some pastors starts off healthy but get sick in the course of pasturing. That may happen due to lack of praying himself, getting too relax in his ministering the words of God instead ministering his words, or begin to follow his will instead of Gods will and purpose, sending forth labors in which he can do his self, and what could happen is that he lost focus on the vision that God set before him. I say this because I have seen this happened in many churches around me and then the members are the blame when it is the pastor. Bro. Young I love your 5 priorities for a healthy church, I think you are on point. I just want to inject or point the pastors out because he is the leader. Keep pressing on!

Stephen M. Young II said...

Thank you for the comment. I appreciate it. Yes, if the pastor of a church is not living daily in God's presence, the church is in for trouble.

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