Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WHAT IS A HEALTHY CHURCH?

In our Church Planting trainings in S. Asia we talk a lot about healthy church. But we also often get the question posed back to us, What is a healthy church? Based on God's Word we have been given the criteria that defines just what a healthy church should look like.

A HEALTHY CHURCH HAS ONE PURPOSE

The sole purpose of a healthy church is to make God and his glory known. According to the Bible, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord just as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).

A HEALTHY CHURCH HAS TWO SOURCES OF AUTHORITY

The first source of authority of a healthy church is of course the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the head of the body, the church (Colossians 1:18-19). The second source of authority is the Word of God (Bible). God's Word is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

A HEALTHY CHURCH HAS TWO TYPES OF LEADERS*

The first type of leader is an Elder/Pastor/Shepherd. The qualifications for an elder are laid out in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. According to Scripture this office is for men that are above reproach not only to those within the church but also outside the church. It also points out that if a man is not a good pastor in his home with his family then he has no business being a pastor outside of his home.

The second type of leader is a servant leader in a Deacon. The qualifications for a deacon are laid out in 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-7. According to Scripture this office is for men or women and also live a life that is above reproach. 

*There is a third type of leader that is highly recommended in that of a Treasurer, a trustworthy leader who can handle the giving. Although this is recognizably not a mandatory role it in most cases can be a wise choice as money is one of the number one reasons that a church will not be healthy and often split. 

A HEALTHY CHURCH HAS FOUR SIGNS OF HEALTH

First, a healthy church will support itself financially. Second, a healthy church will be self-governing. Third, a healthy church will go and multiply by making other healthy churches. Fourth, a healthy church will correct itself and one another through the use of God's Word.

A HEALTHY CHURCH HAS FIVE FUNCTIONS

A healthy church will exhibit five functions. First, it will exhibit worship through love for God (Matthew 22:36-38). Second, it will exhibit service through love by submitting and taking care of others (Matthew 22:39; Acts 2:42-47). Third, it will exhibit fellowship by love for one another (Matthew 22:39). Fourth, it will exhibit evangelism by going and telling others the good news of the gospel (Matthew 28:18-19). Fifth, it will exhibit discipleship by teaching others to obey all that Christ commanded (Matthew 18:19-20).

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