Doughnut1200

Give your church a health check

Apparently, the first step on the road to recovery is to deal with the issue of denial. So if you drink excessively, you need to admit you are an alcoholic, not simply a heavy drinker. The same would be true if you are taking drugs or gambling your money away.

Today I need to ‘fess up’. My name is Gary Gibbs and I am fat. Actually, it’s worse than that: according to the Government health watchdog I am obese.

Now I can find lots of ways of rationalising my weight issue:

  • I’m ‘big boned’
  • It’s an age thing
  • All the travelling makes it difficult to eat healthily
  • It’s my family genes

The truth is that unless I face reality and practically address the challenge, nothing is going to change in any positive sense.

Whew! Confession is good for the soul: time will tell whether it’s going to be good for my body!

As you know, one of the clearest metaphors used in the New Testament to describe the church is that we are The Body of Christ. I wonder whether sometimes we are in denial about the health of this Body to which we belong.

You see, just because a church is big doesn’t immediately mean it’s healthy; it could simply be fat! Similarly, a small church could actually be doing very well if they are ministering in a small town or rural setting: a church of 50 members in a town of 10,000 may be more influential than a church of 1,000 in a city of a quarter of a million (I think my maths is correct!).

There are all sorts of ways to measure church health and numbers attending is only one of them. On a broader scale, based out of Ephesians 4:11 and onwards, here are several questions we could be asking ourselves concerning our corporate health:

  1. How apostolic are we?
    In other words, to what degree are we moving outwards as God’s people and taking ground? In practice this would mean that we are seeking to pioneer new churches in neighbourhoods, networks, towns and cities.
     
  2. How prophetic are we?
    How is the word of the Lord being heard and demonstrated by our corporate lifestyle and our proclaiming of the heart of God? Being prophetic is so much more than ‘having a picture’ on Sunday morning: it’s also about us being a ‘city set on a hill’ whose light shines through our good works and our voiced insistence that the best way to live in God’s world is God’s way! When we choose to serve the poor and marginalised through Food Banks, Street Pastors, International Missions; when we speak out against injustice and oppression; then we are being a prophetic people.
     
  3. How evangelistic are we?
    A friend once made this deep statement, “Doing it is doing it!”. So, a gentle challenge to my fellow leaders…are we doing it? Are we equipping our people for ‘works of service’ and then facilitating them in effective outreach to their neighbours, friends and workmates? And, are we evaluating our activity? What does not get measured does not get done!
     
  4. How pastoral are we?
    Thank the Lord for Pastors! We need some on our leadership teams who both care for the flock of God but also seek to bring those they care for to maturity. Oh, and the other role of a ‘good shepherd’ is to go after lost sheep!
     
  5. How theological are we?
    In other words, how well are we revealing God to those we lead and influence? My presumption is that the better we teach the church, the more they will love and serve the Lord; theology is all about knowing God!
     

My suggestion is that a Four Square Gospel undergirded by a Five Fold Ministry will cause the Body of Christ to be fitter, stronger, more flexible and ultimately much larger without being obese!

 

 
 
Prayer and evangelism are like burger and fries, writes Mark Greenwood.
Ignite Church, Lincoln, spent the summer seeking God – with amazing results, as Darren Edwards explains.
One of the challenges faced by the Elim Movement right now is 'church planting inertia', argues Gary Gibbs.
Once an atheist, Pete Verry is now a very active evangelist. He explains that churches can create excitement when they employ evangelism.
Once an atheist, Pete Verry is now a very active evangelist. He explains that churches can create excitement when they employ evangelism.

Additional Reading >

Future Events

Wednesday 26 June
Take this opportunity to sharpen your preaching gift in the area of gospel preaching and response. Join Gary Gibbs and Mark Greenwood at one of these Evangelistic Preaching training day events in July and September.
Thursday 27 June
Take this opportunity to sharpen your preaching gift in the area of gospel preaching and response. Join Gary Gibbs and Mark Greenwood at one of these Evangelistic Preaching training day events in July and September.
Saturday 29 June
An event for anyone interested in planting a new church and for those who are already underway! Save the date - more details to follow.
Wednesday 25 September
Take this opportunity to sharpen your preaching gift in the area of gospel preaching and response. Join Gary Gibbs and Mark Greenwood at one of these Evangelistic Preaching training day events in July and September.
Thursday 26 September
Take this opportunity to sharpen your preaching gift in the area of gospel preaching and response. Join Gary Gibbs and Mark Greenwood at one of these Evangelistic Preaching training day events in July and September.
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