Saturday, February 7, 2009

25 Signs of a Healthy Church (Part 1 of 3)

Sign #1 The church seeks to know and to follow God's will. They never lose sight of the fact that it's His people, His power, and His purpose and plan. They are committed not only to God's will, but God's way.

Sign #2 Christian growth is emphasized and facilitated. Healthy churches are intentional about helping their people realize God's potential in their lives. They accept the Great Commission - to make disciples - as their reason for existence.

Sign #3 Church members have an attitude of servanthood, not seeking control, power or status. These churches foster a climate where everyone is useful in God's work. They acknowledge Jesus as Lord of the church and know that whatever positions individuals hold are for His glory and the extension of His kingdom.

Sign #4 Church members are faithful in stewardship of time, talents, and treasures. Healthy churches foster a climate of giving, not a concern for getting. Members look for opportunities to help with all that God has entrusted to them.

Sign #5 The church is a place of vibrant, engaging worship. The styles may vary greatly, but their worship touches the heart, engaging and involving people. Those who attend worship in these churches do not doubt that they've been in the presence of God.

Sign #6 Members model purity and integrity and do not ignore sin in the body. They deal redemptively with people, realizing that we're all imperfect. But healthy churches also hold high the standards God has set and they seek to live by them. They don't allow willful, flagrant, unrepentant sin to continue.

Sign #7 The church is adaptable and flexible - willing to change. They don't compromise or seek the latest fad, but they are teachable. They have an unselfish spirit and are pliable in the Master's hands. Leaders and members each have preferences, but they forgo their "rights," desiring what's best for the church and for the lost.

Sign #8 The church emphasizes the positive and never dwells on the negative. They celebrate victories. Even where there have been disappointments, they don't allow that to monopolize their focus and permeate their thinking. But they learn and benefit from mistakes.

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

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