May 28, 2013

A Vision for a Healthy Church

Both church health and church growth are important, but church health is the more vital of the two. A church can grow, but not be healthy. On the other hand, if a church is faithful and healthy, it will have a heart for reaching others with the life-changing message of salvation.

At least five things will be true of a healthy church:

(1)   A healthy is focused on the glory of God. A healthy church does not exist for its own glory but for the fame of His Name. A healthy church longs to see Jesus Christ glorified in the hearts of people everywhere. God is glorified in our hearts when we find our joy in Him. This is what God deserves and this is the greatest good that human beings can have. Therefore, we want to help each other and others to make Christ the highest treasure of our hearts. Therefore a healthy church will keep its focus on Christ and continuously kindle their devotion to Him as our first love (Rev. 2:4).

(2)   A healthy church has members who are continuously growing in their knowledge, love, and obedience to God’s Word. (Col. 1:9-14) Discipleship is a life-long process based on God’s grace. When people encounter God’s saving grace their lives begin to be changed from the inside out. Motivated by love and gratitude, Christians desire to follow Jesus and to bow before Him as our King. We want to listen to His Word in order to know Him more and to learn what pleases and displeases Him (Eph. 5:17). Thus, a healthy church will have a high view of the Bible and will be diligent to let it renew our minds and transform us more and more into the image of Christ. (Rm. 12:2; 8:29)

(3)   A healthy church is made up of members who love and care for each other as they would themselves. The church is the body of Christ and we are all members of it (1 Cor. 12:27). We need to remember that God did not create Christians to live as spiritual Lone Rangers. We need to live in unity with each other, caring for one another’s well-being as if it were our very own. The members of a healthy church will forgive one another, bear each other’s burdens, encourage one another, and spur each other on to love and good deeds. Further, we will work together for the mission that God has called us to on this earth.

(4)   A healthy church has an evangelistic heart for the lost and an outward focus. A healthy church is not content to keep the blessings of the Gospel to itself. Instead, a healthy church desires to obey Christ’s Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations (Mt. 28:19-28). A healthy church will have a heart like Jesus had—a heart of compassion for the lost (Luke 15:1-32). A healthy church will care about evangelism both individually, and as a church; both locally, and globally. A healthy church will be a lighthouse, not a clubhouse.

(5)    A healthy church will have members who are equipped and active in using their spiritual gifts, abilities, time, and resources to glorify God by building up the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4:1:16) The core mission of the church is to glorify God by bringing people into a living relationship with Christ and helping each other grow as devoted followers of Him. In other words, we are called to build up the body of Christ through evangelism and discipleship. God has equipped believers with the gifts needed to do this work. In a healthy church, each member embraces the fact that he or she is an essential part of fulfilling this mission. Our goal is not merely to make disciples, but to make disciples who make disciples.

These things are essential, but they are not the only things characterize a healthy church. To become a healthy church requires passionate and dependent prayer, biblical leadership, and a healthy diet of expository preaching. Yet the goal of all of this is for the people of God to become the body of Christ as Jesus intended it to be, for His glory.    

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