Last week we shared a blog entitled “What does a Healthy Church Look Like.”
There are foundational steps that leaders must take in order to create healthy church environments that promote growth. The growth of your church depends on members who are biblical healthy in their relationship with the Lord. A church filled with unhealthy members will not accomplish much for the Kingdom.
Here are six foundational aspects of ministry that are crucial to creating an environment for (healthy) growth from Dann Spader and Gary Mayes, book, Growing a Healthy Church (Moody Press, 1991). See how many of these criteria are evident in the life of your church.
- Create an atmosphere of love. Jesus’ insight, “By this will all men know that [we] love one another,” (John 13:35) has never been more true. Congregations should be totally in love with Jesus and then that love needs to spill out in all their relationships both inside and outside the church. If we are not dispensers of God’s love we are not being the church.
- Build a relational ministry. Building relationships with people was an intentional, aggressive agenda for Christ. “He spent time with his disciples” (John 3:22). He lived by the principle that people respond when we reach out to them. People today are hungry for authentic relationships. The rapid rise of Facebook and Twitter are just signs that people desire to connect to each other. People connect in small groups. People need to be in some kind of life group for sharing, prayer, accountability, study and support. Regardless of the model you use such as Sunday School, small groups, home groups, cell groups, or discipleship groups, people need to connect in order to grow and “be the church.”
- Communicate Christ clearly. In a world that knows only charicatures of Christ, people need to know him as he really is. We must present him and his message of life and grace as he gave it, so that people might build a real relationship with the living Savior.
- Build a healthy ministry image. What kind vision do the people in your church and ministry have for the work to which God has called them? How confident are they in His ability to accomplish the task He has entrusted to them? Cohesiveness, commitment to the cause, receptivity to change, and teachability are all related to a healthy group image.
- Mobilize a prayer base. Our task is to effect spiritual life change. This kind of spiritual work is not accomplished by human means. As we move into the arena of prayer, God moves into the arena of our lives. Praying churches are growing churches and healthy churches because they are in contact with the Head of the church and His plans for their congregations. Jesus wants His house to be a house of prayer.
- Communicate the Word. Research has shown that even our most regular churchgoers have some biblical illiteracy. We continually need to evaluate our teaching to insure God’s Word is being taught accurately. We must challenge our members to “read the Word” on a consistent basis. A dose of Scripture on Sunday is not enough; we must lead our folks to engage the Word of God for direction, belief, and guidance on a daily basis. Teach your people how to feed themselves on the Word of God and your church will be stronger.
What can you do through the power of the Holy Spirit to improve your weakest area of these six criteria? Seek the Lord’s guidance and lead your church to health and growth for the Kingdom.