Energetic. Strong. Vibrant. Full of life. And healthy.
This is how I want to describe who I am and how I live my life! There are many things I have to do to be physically healthy. Some of those things I like—others I can’t stand—but one thing is for sure…
Unless I spend time assessing my current lifestyle and habits for healthiness, I will never become as healthy as I ought to be!
I take vitamins every day. I go to the gym. I ‘try’ to eat healthy meals. So, why am I still struggling with being overweight and out of shape? It’s because there is no magic pill or quick solution to my health problems. The only way I will become as physically healthy as God wants me to be is by changing my habits and being diligent over time—a long, long time.
The same is true for church health! There is no quick fix solution that will help our church double in size in the next three months, but if we will change some of our habits that inhibit growth, God will help us to grow in His time!
Here at Temple Rogers, our goal is to love God, love people and make disciples, but accomplishing that goal is easier said than done. If we love God the way we ought, our lives will be conformed to the image of His Son. If we love people as we ought, they will be attracted to Christ because His love is being demonstrated in and through us. If we make disciples as we ought, this process will be continually multiplied and our church will grow!
So is church growth the ultimate goal? No! Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, once said, “Greatness does not always equal bigness. Big is not great and great is not big. In fact, the bigger you become the harder it may be to remain great.” Church growth is not the goal–church health is! Healthy churches are usually growing churches, but growing churches are not always healthy churches.
Kevin Ford, a professional church consultant and managing partner of TAG (www.transformingchurch.net), identified five key factors that contributed to the health of a church, which then attributed to the growth of those churches. Here is the list that the TAG Group compiled:
The Five Signs of Church Health
- How church members relate to each other.
- Unhealthy churches are a collection of people acting individually, while healthy churches relate as a community.
- The church’s “genetic code.”
- Unhealthy churches lack a clear identity, while healthy churches have a clear understanding of their mission and vision, and take steps to align their ministries and culture with who they are.
- The church’s leadership.
- Unhealthy churches tend to be overly autocratic or bureaucratic, while healthy churches view leadership as a shared function in the ministry.
- How the church relates to the local community.
- Unhealthy churches disengage from the world around them, while healthy churches are focused on their mission and have an outward orientation that starts with their own locale.
- How church members think about the future.
- Unhealthy churches resist change and fear or deny the future, while healthy churches embrace change, even when it is painful.
Source: Transforming Church by Kevin Ford
Think for a few minutes about your church… Whether you are a part of our fellowship or attending somewhere else, I want you to ask yourself a very important question:
Is my church healthy?
What can you do to improve the feeling of community in your church? How can you help your church align herself with the mission of Jesus? Will you pray for God to guide the leaders of your church to know and do His will? Are you willing to embrace the community surrounding your church with the love of God? Will you welcome the necessary changes in order to become the healthy church that God wants you to be?
I would love to hear how God is speaking to your heart today. Please comment below to let us know what you are going to do to help your church become healthier! Thanks!
For all of you who regularly attend at Temple:
In the coming weeks, we will be working hard to be healthy here at Temple Rogers! Starting next week, you will have the opportunity to be a part of the solution. We want to ask you to participate in the TCAT—Transformational Church Assessment Tool. This tool will help us to discover both our strengths and weaknesses as a church. We will be evaluating:
- How well we are integrating new members into the life of our church,
- How well members understand the vision and mission of our church,
- How we perceive the leadership of the church,
- How we feel about the small group ministry (Sunday School, small groups, etc.),
- How meaningful our worship experience is,
- How we approach the lost within the local community,
- How prayer fits into our daily lives,
- Attitudes about lasting relationships between members, and
- How we think we should engage the community.
Be watching for instructions on how to get involved in the TCAT. The more opinions that we have weighing in on our present reality, the more effective the assessment will be. For this reason, we are inviting everyone who is a ‘regular attendee’ at Temple to participate. Thank you in advance for your participation in this assessment tool!
For an additional article about church health, I invite you to read Thom Rainer’s article here.
Click for a printer-friendly version of 5 Signs of Church Health.