Everyone wants to be healthy.
At least we think we do.
Then we learn what healthy requires. (More on that in a second.)
Andy Stanley is the pastor of one of America’s largest churches NorthPoint Community Church. Recently he challenged some comments he heard while watching the events of a large denomination’s annual meeting. (It should be noted that Stanley’s church isn’t affiliated with the denomination from what I can tell. Although his father, Dr. Charles Stanley, was once a national leader in it.)
My goal here is not to evaluate the discussion between Stanley and various pastors at the conference nor is it my goal to evaluate Stanley as a pastor.
Rather, I think one point made by Stanley after the event can assist any Christian leader wanting to grow a healthy church.
“There are a bunch of great SBC churches doing a phenomenal job reaching people in their community. But when you look closely at those churches you discover several things they have in common.” (see full Christian Post article)
These common characteristics of a healthy church could be applied to almost any ministry, organization, or business.
1) They are led well.
Albeit a little vague, Stanley makes a good point here. Healthy churches develop healthy church leaders. Pastors committed to church health equip people rather than trying to do it all (see Eph 4).
2) They are organized around systems that free people to use their gifts.
If people aren’t given ways to use their gifts, their gifts atrophy. They turn into bystanders. They begin expecting the pastors or other professionals to “do all the ministry.” Create systems that unleash the God-given potential your people have.
3) They are vision centered.
A healthy church communicates and lives out vision. Be careful vision isn’t simply talked. Make sure it is lived out, inspiring, and so big that it cannot be done without God’s help.
4) The preaching is practical.
If your preaching doesn’t connect to people’s lives, it will undoubtedly have little impact. Make preaching practical, help people to live differently, simply, and be clear.
5) The preaching is Gospel-centered.
In an effort to make preaching practical, some pastors lose sight of the Gospel. Remind your people that their salvation is not merited but a gift from God.
Which of these areas do you need to work on to create a healthy church that impacts it’s community? Pick one and take action.
Brad Bridges is the Vice President of the Malphurs Group, a leadership coach, strategy consultant, blogger at bradbridges.net, husband to Lindsey, and father of 3. | @bradbridges | Website