Time to Evaluate: The 10 Marks of a Healthy Church

Last Update 3rd October, 2016.

Is it just about building big churches or are we in the business of building strong and healthy churches that produce disciples?

Sometimes we just need to stop being busy, step back and evaluate.

It’s good, as a pastor, to have some benchmarks to measure your church ministry by. We can easily get so wrapped up in doing what we’re doing that we forget what we’re doing it for.

When you visit the doctor for a check up, he asks you a series of questions and checks your vital signs.

steThom Rainer, author of Simple Church and Autopsy of a Deceased Church has worked with churches all across the US helping them to diagnose the current health of their churches.

Here are just some of the questions he asks pastors to help them diagnose their church health.

Take a look at these 10 questions to get at least some hints of the evangelistic health of your own church:

1. Are members more concerned about the lost than their own preferences and comfort?

Listen to how church members talk to understand what their true priorities are.

2. Is the church led to pray for lost people?

Most churches are pretty good about praying for those who have physical needs. But do they pray for the lost; those who have the greatest spiritual need—a relationship with Jesus Christ?

3. Are the members of the church open to reaching people who don’t look or act like them?

The Gospel breaks all racial, ethnic and language barriers.

Do the members seek to reach others? Do they celebrate when these people become a part of the church?

4. Do conflicts and critics zap the evangelistic energy of the church?

An evangelistic church is a united church. A divided church is rarely evangelistic.

5. Do small groups and Sunday school classes seek to reach lost persons within their groups?

Sunday school was once one of the most effective evangelistic tools in the church. Are the small home groups in your church evangelistic?

6. Is the leadership of the church evangelistic?

The congregation will follow and emulate the priorities of the church leadership.

If a pastor is focused on reaching the unreached then the congregation will follow suit.

7. Do the sermons regularly communicate the Gospel?

They may not be evangelistic sermons in the classic sense, but all sermons should point people to Jesus.

8. Are there ministries in the church that encourage members to be involved in evangelistic outreach?

You may be surprised to find how many members become evangelistic with a modest amount of training and equipping.

9. Have programs become ends in themselves rather than means to reach people?

Your church programs and systems need to be organised around the mission of the church, not the other way round. Perhaps a total ministry and program audit is in order.

10. Is there any process of accountability for members to be more evangelistic?

Is there an emphasis on personal friendship evangelism? That which is rewarded and expected becomes the priority of the congregation.

After their imprisonment for sharing the Gospel with others, Peter and John appeared before the Sanhedrin who demanded their silence.

Listen to how the two Apostles, with their lives on the line, responded to their accusers:

“But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:19-20).

I pray that more and more of our church members have the heart and attitude exemplified by Peter and John.

May we be so motivated to share the Gospel that we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.

Pastors, I would love to hear from you on this one. How would you evaluate the evangelistic health of your church? What do you think are your church’s strong and weak areas?

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