What is a healthy church?

In Acts 2 v 42-47 we catch a glimpse of what the health of the early church looked like. Too soon was such health under pressure as the church grew, prompting Paul to write to the churches, sometimes with harsh words as they allowed tradition to impact the church in a negative way. So what does a healthy church look like in the 21st C? Is it a matter of size, make-up of the church or location? Is it about age range?

Is it dependent on style of worship or the version of the Bible you use or even whether you have a full-time pastor? Whilst all of these may be significant they do not make a healthy church.

The early church were “devoted” to Prayer, Teaching, Fellowship and Breaking of Bread resulting in people being saved and disciples being built up in the faith. A healthy church is defined by these things. Healthy churches pray together, take God’s word seriously and seek to live by it. Fellowship is real leading to the sharing of themselves in a variety of ways. Reaching out with the love of Jesus, sharing faith and seeing folk saved are all signs of a healthy church.

A regular physical health check is a useful thing enabling doctors to pick up signs of illness before they get out of hand and treat them accordingly – why then can we be so reticent to perform a spiritual health check on our churches? This has to be the starting point as we look at ways that revitalization might develop in your church context.

Phil Walter