Have you ever thought about what makes a church healthy? In our last post, we mentioned that two ingredients in a healthy church are UNITY and DIVERSITY. Although diverse people from various walks of life usually make up a church, they can still be unified through the Holy Spirit. In this post, we will continue looking at Five Ingredients of a Healthy Church. The ingredients Paul mentions in Ephesians are not the only ingredients of a healthy church, but they are all very important to church health.
5 INGREDIENTS OF A HEALTHY CHURCH
“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…” Ephesians 4:11-12
According to Paul, the main role of the church leaders at Ephesus was to prepare and equip the church members to do works of service. You show me a church where the people of God are serving others through their gifts and abilities, and I’ll show you a church that is hitting on all cylinders. Healthy churches are serving churches!
We are never more like Jesus than when we serve without regard for what’s in it for us!
Jesus said himself, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
“….until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:13-14
God wants each of us to mature spiritually throughout our life. He wants every Christian to grow and to become more & more like Christ. Although we will never reach sinless perfection this side of Heaven, we should strive to live a holy life before the Lord. A healthy church will put a system in place that encourages and facilitates spiritual maturity.
“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:15-16
Paul constantly emphasized love. Remember how he stressed the supremacy of love in the following passage:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13 (NIV)
Why is love so important? Why is love so significant? Why is it crucial, essential, critical, chief, paramount, foremost, greatest, supreme, numero-uno! Henry Blackaby summed it up correctly when he said….
“Settle the love relationship and everything else is settled!”
Could it be that in many of our churches that the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart? Could it be that in many of our own lives that the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart? Above all, a healthy church will be a LOVING church. Remember Jesus words….
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'” Matthew 22:37-40, NIV
Thank you for your kind comments and thank you for your book. I’ll check it out over the next few months…….sounds like a book that really needed to be written!
I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts on what makes a healthy church. I’m a Southern Baptist pastor near Kansas City, Missouri. My wife and I have written a new discipleship resource on church conflict titled “Winning the Real Battle at Church: What Holds Your Church Together During Troubled Times.” It has been endorsed by several SBC leaders, including Frank Page (SBC president 2006-2008), Geoff Hammond (NAMB president), Chuck Lawless (Southern Seminary), and five SBC state convention leaders. Gene Getz (president of the Center for Church Renewal and former Dallas Seminary professor) and Woodrow Kroll (Back to the Bible radio) also have recommended our book to pastors and their congregations.
Our book represents a grassroots effort to build up and strengthen the Body of Christ in general and SBC congregations in particular. Nearly every congregation has experienced destructive conflict at some point in its past, and many churches are currently embroiled in major conflict. We’ve found that the best time to address church conflict is before it strikes. Unfortunately, many congregations wait until they are consumed by it before they attempt to address it.
While we’re not associated with a large publisher, ten LifeWay bookstores and several other Christian bookstores across the nation are presently carrying our book. Many pastors and churches have purchased our book on our website, http://www.winningtherealbattle.com.
We’d greatly appreciate you taking the time to learn more about our resource on our website and possibly place a post on your blog with a link to the site. The churches that are using our book have found it to be a very helpful and practical resource. It’s unique among the resources that are presently available on the topic of biblical conflict resolution.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments. My email address is [email protected].