Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 67
“Is your church healthy?” is not intended to be a rhetorical question. Every church leader should constantly be asking it of their ministry. Some say “no”, but most say “yes.” When asked why they think their church is healthy, the answers vary. We hear things like “Our attendance has been pretty consistent for decades”; “We’re faithful to the Word of God”; “Our people love each other”; “Families have grown up here.”
The problem with the typical answers is that there is no consistent foundation for what should be measured. Most church leaders have not taken the time to think about what should be measured or how to measure it. This week on the podcast, we talked through five essentials of church health, so your church can get focused on what’s most important. There’s a bonus sixth element at the end that can’t be overlooked either.
In our Strategic Envisioning process we help churches through five essentials of church health. Each of the five essentials starts with a question to frame the work.
What is our mission mandate?
This is a question of mission, but not just any mission. The Great Commission gives us two central things to build our churches around. First, evangelism – “Go and make disciples.”. The second is maturity – “Teach them to obey everything I have commanded.”
How then will we assess our effectiveness in our mission? We’ll measure how well we’re making new disciples of Jesus, and how well they are maturing in their faith.
What motivates us?
This question asks what we value enough to act on. The first century church in Acts chapter 2 valued seven things that drove the church forward, and around the world. Not one of those things has become outdated or irrelevant.
How will we assess our values? By building the ministries of our church that will allow our people to participate in those things that were valued then, and that we should value now.
How will we structure our ministry?
This question sets us up for systematic discipleship instead of programmatic calendar-fillers. This is where all ministry lives. It demands intentionality, and focus on outcomes. If we truly want to see our people mature in their faith to the point of becoming disciple-makers themselves, then we have to get this right, and constantly be monitoring it.
How will we measure discipleship in the church? By watching what people do. If you can provide 3-5 primary ministries for people to engage with (hint: some of them can be combined and not blow up people’s calendar), and make sure each one is very focused on living out what you value, you will find increasing maturity in your church.
Where are we going?
This question demands vision clarity. There are just a few repetitive elements that we see over and over in unhealthy churches, and a lack of vision is one of those things. “if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?” 1 Cor 14:8
A church with no vision is a church that may be doing things, but is literally going nowhere. The vision sets the destination, and when well communicated, unifies the church, and builds momentum. Measuring vision progress becomes essential.
What will we do this year?
ACTION! This question sets up what we will improve upon to increase our effectiveness. We align the projects with the Discipleship Pathway so that the work is focused on what matters most. Goals are set, timelines created, accountability maintained, and progress made.
And finally, our bonus sixth essential component of a healthy church – A Healthy Leadership Culture.
The question we ask here is “Who will drive us forward?” That may or may not be an easy or obvious answer. As with churches with no vision, ineffective leadership is a key element of an unhealthy church. Ineffective leadership in its best leaves churches stagnant, and at its worst, toxic. Church leaders must joyfully unify the body on mission and towards a great vision, continually seeking the best from everyone.
I hope by now you’re asking how you can assess your church today because we have an exciting opportunity for you to do that. A long-standing resource that we use here at TMG is our Church Ministry Analysis which dates back to Dr. Malphurs’ work on his best-selling book, Advanced Strategic Planning. We have carefully re-aligned the assessment around the six pillars of church health talked about above in the new Church Ministry Analysis 2.0. It gets better though! Because we are a non-profit organization, and through faithful partners in ministry, we are now providing the CMA 2.0 for just $99. Upon purchase, you’ll get an onboarding call from one of our Guides to prepare your team to take the assessment. Once complete, your church’s responses will be processed, and a custom report with our analysis will be provided along with a second Guide meeting to talk through it.
We want to see your church thrive, and that starts with an honest look at how you’re doing today.
A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive and travels internationally to teach and train pastors to lead healthy disciple-making churches. A.J. lives in the Ft. Worth, Texas area, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.