What are the Characteristics of a Healthy, Growing Church?
According to research by Natural Church Development in over 50,000 churches around the world, there are eight quality characteristics in all healthy, growing churches, whatever culture surrounds them. Pay attention to the adjective for each one; that's what really makes the difference!
1. Empowering Leadership
Leaders, clergy and laypeople, volunteer and staff, consider one of their most important roles to be building up other Christians to become all that God wants them to be.
2. Gift-oriented Ministry
God has gifted every Christian with talents and abilities, and healthy, growing churches help their members identify these gifts and integrate them into ministries in which their gifts can be used and grown.
3. Passionate Spirituality
Although how passionate spirituality is expressed may differ widely in different churches, healthy, growing churches are full of people who live out their faith daily with commitment, fire and enthusiasm.
4. Functional Structures
In healthy, growing churches, the structures of the church serve as a means to end, working to allow the work of the church to move forward.
5. Inspiring Worship
Different churches worship in different styles, but in all healthy, growing churches, their members are inspired by the weekly worship; for folks in these churches, worship is "fun."
6. Holistic Small Groups
Whether for fellowship, Christian education or to accomplish a task (a choir, committee or board), all churches have small groups. In healthy, growing churches, members of these groups find intimate community, practical help and spiritual interaction.
7. Needs-Oriented Evangelism
In healthy, growing churches, the work of the members of the church to share their faith is based on the needs of the people with whom it is shared, not on the needs of the church.
8. Loving Relationships
In healthy, growing churches, members feel that they are loved and valued, and the churches tend to be
characterized by laughter and joy.
Each of these eight quality characteristics is directly related to both the qualitative and quantitative growth of every church. It is about health, and about growth.
On Sunday February 10th, 30 members of our congregation will be invited to participate in a survey that is designed to measure our health in each of these 8 characteristics. This will be the first step in helping us to get healthy, identifying where we are weakest and how we can begin to grow to greater health.