Over the past week, I have had a persistent cough that has whittled away at my strength and daily routine. I can be a hard headed with it comes to what I perceive as minor colds and going to the doctor. With this one, I probably should and will. Health is a vital part of life (literally).
Recently, I was asked to consider setting up a Church Growth class through the local Bible institute we oversee. Immediately, I brought up the greater need for Church health and revitalization. It is my position that not every growing church is healthy but, healthy churches will grow.
William T. McConnel (2007, p. 8) wrote, “Nothing on the planet Earth may be more dangerous than a pastor who has just returned from a conference on church growth.” The big reason I shy away from Church growth thinking is that many times, pastors and other church leaders try to immediately implement what they learn. This is quick to move and slow to think is not helped by the out of the box approach Church Growth presenters utilize. McConnel (2007, p. 11) also pointed out that “Growing and shrinking congregations DO the same things. (There are no best programs).” Programs will not strengthen a congregation. Only the Spirit of God and people who are seeking to follow Him will bring revival.
When does a church need to examine its health?
The simple answer to that question: how many times do you have a health evaluation? At least once a year, hopefully. It is important for the leadership and the body of believers to examine where the local congregation is heading. It is also important to receive counsel from other who are trained and experienced in such types of evaluation.
What areas need to be revitalized?
We are used to the ABC’s of Church growth paradigm: Attendance, buildings, and cash flow. In the Church health model, these are still important but are seen as the basic vital signs instead of growth or success indicators. If these previous areas are no longer the indicators of health, what is?
- Preaching/teaching of God’s Word
- Great Commission Driven (evangelism and missions)
- Functionality (participation)
- Fellowship (Love and openness)
I would venture to say that we could find other areas to evaluate our local church’s health. Are there other areas that you would add to this list?
Some of these may seem difficult to measure, but it is possible to gain an idea. If you are interested in Church health consulting, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
McConnel, William T (2007). Renew Your Congregation: Healing the Sick, Raising the Dead. Chalice Press. St. Louis, MO