Monday, February 9, 2009

25 Signs of a Healthy Church (Part 3 of 3)

Sign #17 The church trusts, respects, and supports the pastor. Every healthy church recognizes that their pastor is called by God to lead their congregation. Though there is a legal employment status, he is not viewed as an employee. Even as he's evaluated, he is encouraged and enabled. Members respect both the person and the position, removing hindrances to his leadership.

Sign #18 The church has effective, ongoing communication. There is openness anytime it's appropriate. Vision, goals, ministry needs, and other aspects of church life are clearly and consistently shared with the congregation through a variety of means, public and private.

Sign #19 The church has a clear vision, priorities, and plan. These churches know where they're going and how to get there. They know that they can't afford to waste their resources or promote ministries that don't fulfill God's purpose for their church. The vision drives all that they do, helping them determine priorities and establish plans.

Sign #20 The church trains and empowers people for ministry according to their giftedness. There is a recognition that every Christian is gifted, just not in the same way. Healthy churches utilize people's gifts in appropriate areas of ministry and avoid "filling vacancies" with anyone they can find. These churches would rather have a vacant position than have the wrong person in it.

Sign #21 The church constantly develops leaders. Healthy churches recognize the crucial importance of leadership in all that they do, and plan for both attrition and future ministry needs. They constantly work to expand their leadership base and develop existing leaders for more effective service.

Sign #22 The church is outwardly focused. Effective churches resist the temptation to turn inward. They grow larger and stronger themselves by focusing on others.

Sign #23 The church finds or creates connecting points with the community. Healthy churches engage their communities. They keep their focus on ways to connect those who are outside the church with the message and ministry of the church.

Sign #24 Church members are intentionally evangelistic. The Great Commission compels healthy churches to reach the lost through various methods. These churches don't see evangelism as a program, but as a passion. They make opportunities to share the gospel with others they encounter.

Sign #25 The church is producing congregations. Healthy churches, like healthy people, plants, or animals, reproduce themselves. They look beyond themselves, and find joy in birthing new congregations. They plant the DNA of reproductions in congregations that will reproduce yet more congregations.

(Written by Marvin Owen, the church health strategist for the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention, Casper, Wyoming.)

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