10 Growth Principles of Healthy Churches (part 3)

In a previous blog, I listed 10 so let’s continue to examine two more with number three and four.

3. Healthy Churches have an effective assimilation process. They not only reach people but they move people to places of service.  They do this very quickly and intentionally.  It is expected of every member to serve and to grow in their faith (discipleship).  They know how to harness an army of volunteers who use their spiritual gifts in serving the Lord.

Healthy churches address the issue of the “back door.”  Churches that close the back door grow, those who keep it open have a breeze that just keeps blowing through that inhibits growth.  There is nothing wrong with spending energy and focus on reaching people.  That is fulfilling part of the Great Commission but if we do not spend equal energy and focus on keeping them and making disciples out of the converts we have won we will fail.

Raise the standard for church membership.  A church should expect (maybe demand) every member to find a place of meaningful service that is connected to their spiritual giftedness.  Helping people stick is called “assimilation.”  The best way to assimilate people is to develop a clear discipleship process that equips people and grows them in Christ through relationships.

Relationships are the glue that causes people to stick and serve.  The best way to develop relationships is in small groups which is our next point.

4. Healthy growing Churches emphasize small groups.  Whether you call it Sunday School, LIFE groups, small groups, discipleship groups, home groups, growth groups, let’s eat pie groups, etc. These churches have discovered that life change happens best as people gather around the Word of God and live life together experiencing genuine community in small groups.

These groups meet at church, in homes, or other venues. The location is not as critical as what happens when they meet.  Life happens when these groups come together.  Real biblical koinonia takes place and New Testament fellowship comes alive.  They share their joys and struggles as they open up the Word of God and apply it to their life experiences. They minister, encourage, and pray for each other as they experience growth in Christ.  The healthiest small groups reproduce.  They branch off new groups that reach and disciple new people.

How would you describe the small group process in your church?  Are they alive and growing?  Do you have enough? Are you training new group leaders?

Remember that assimilation occurs best in small groups as people develop significant relationships in the group and experience real discipleship.

Keep the Son in Your Eyes,

Mike James

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