I realize that this is a loaded question. When most people think about a healthy church they think about the church they grew up in, or a church like the church they went to in their early adulthood. While we do like to reminisce about the past, that church may or may not have been healthy. So how can you know if your church is healthy? What should you be looking for?
Let me begin by saying that there is no perfect church. However, there are churches that are more or less healthy than others. While others may include other things, here is my list of qualities to look for in a healthy church.
Qualities of a healthy church:
Jesus matters most. If the priority of the church is something other than pointing people to and living for Jesus, they are not a healthy church.
A commitment to God’s Word. If the Bible is a book that is opened occasionally, or only used when someone is trying to get people to do something, they are not a healthy church. The Word of God should be preached accurately and faithfully. The scripture is not a jumping off point for a spiritual essay. The teaching should be built off of the text of the passage. Doctrine matters. What we believe should be based on the truth revealed in the Scriptures.
The gospel is shared. If the gospel is not proclaimed regularly, they are not a healthy church. The gospel matters to those who are lost and those who are saved. It shows the lost how to find God and reminds the saved of their dependence on God. Charles Spurgeon once said this about the gospel in the church:
Do not go where it is all fine music in grand talk and beautiful architecture; those things will neither fill anybody’s stomach, nor feed his soul. Go where the gospel is preached, the gospel that really fees your soul, and go often. –Charles Spurgeon
Spirit-filled worship. If the people gathered are not enthusiastic about worshipping God together, they are not a healthy church. Now, I am not talking about a particular worship style. Nor am I talking about having certain kinds of musical instruments. What I am talking about is people who are authentically worshipping God. Worship takes place when the church is gathered, in the home with your family, in your personal devotional time, and really everywhere you go. Worship is a lifestyle of showing others that God comes first in your life. While all of life is worship, seeing how the gathered church worships will help to assess its health.
Mission involved. There is a difference between being mission minded and mission involved. If a church is not mission involved, they are not a healthy church. Mission minded churches think about missions, pray for missions, and give money to missions. Mission involved churches do all of that AND send people to serve on missions. This is something that the Bible encourages us to do throughout the New Testament. A healthy church encourages people to BE ON MISSION.
What do you think? What things should someone look for in a healthy church? Let us know in the comments below.