Church Health Indicators: Other Areas that Need Attention

 

  • Your church is healthy if there is quality and consistent participation by more than 20% of your membership in outreach to the community! If you are not reaching out, you have a big problem.
  • Your church is healthy if the training, mobilization, support, and sending out of missionaries here and overseas is occurring. Your church budget is the clue to what is important and what is not. If you are not sending and supporting people to do the Lord’s work, then what are you doing (Matt. 28:18-20)? 
  • Your church is healthy if your congregation is involved and there is participation in leadership. If people are not involved, you have a big problem.
  • Your church is healthy if there is healthy communication and contribution. Grievances are welcomed, discussed, and dealt with in a mutual loving and beneficial way. If there is not effective communication, or if there are hidden dealings (not to betray confidences), you are creating distrust between your people and your leadership, and you have a big problem.
  • Your church is healthy if there is an attitude of servant leadership and mutual respect. If you are not honoring, equipping, and encouraging one another by modeling Christ, you have a big problem (Prov. 27:17-18)!
  • Your church is healthy if it is a place where people, both visitors and members, feel welcomed. People can be facilitated to learn and grow where hospitality is extended, where there is no favoritism or prejudice, and where the Fruits of the Spirit are in operation. If your church is not bearing Fruit, you have a big problem.
  • Got love? Your church is healthy if you are loving, caring, and concerned for the members and the community. If you do not love, you have a big, big problem!
  • Your church is healthy if you are reaching out to the youth with good programming and quality discipleship. If the youth are not welcomed, then Christ is not welcomed!
  • Your church is healthy if people are going to services to worship Christ. You do not want to see people going to church only out of obligation, habit, or family pressures. We come together to learn of Christ, to honor Him, and allow Him into our lives. Allow Christ to intrude even where you do not want Him to. If your church is not Christ-centered and your leadership is not Christ-centered, you have a big problem. You are not a church; and to be more precise, you are just a club!

The Slippery Slope P XIII

 

Is Jesus Lord or are Culture and Trends “Lord?” 

This indicates the replacing of biblical thinking and teaching with the latest trends in church growth, or ministry models that are not Christ-centered. This can come from outright rejection of His Lordship to a weakening of it, such as liberalism. And, it usually comes in to the Conservative Evangelical and Reformed churches as embarrassment to proclaim Him boldly, or as the embracing of weak ministry models. Perhaps, we fear reprisal from liberal-minded people, or even misguided fellow Christians, if we are fundamental (as in from convictions with his Truth) in our approach. So, we keep to ourselves and no one knows who we are either at work or in our own families. His Way is not being lived out. This also comes to us by our thinking that we are being relevant and accepting, when we are actually betraying his Lordship. 

Yes, we can be relevant and not compromise! We are to be real and accepting but not compromising; a line must be drawn to which we must be held.

If this is not so in the leadership, they must be stepped down, then trained and discipled. The leadership must set the example to model His Way in humility, servant hood, and in the boldness to exercise discipline when necessary. There is never a call to be offensive to others; rather, we are to be bold in His Fruit. Make sure, if you follow any models or trends, that they are biblical and not compromising or you will have a Church of Perfidy!

Got Good Dogmatics?

The foundations of Dogmatics are essential, yet annoying if you are a cat!

We can master the entire Bible and even be totally transformed by the Word; but, if nothing comes from it, it is meaningless and nearly worthless. This is one of the main points of the book of James. Our faith must have a response to it. Yes, we may be saved, but what good is it if we do nothing with it?

The Slippery Slope P XII

Does Your Church Buy into the Relativism of Your Culture?  

Does your church teaching or ministry model consider that Jesus is just a way but not the Way? He is to be THE Way, THE Truth and THE Life (John 14-15; Acts 4:12). What about teaching that there are no right or wrong absolutes, therefore neglecting morals and virtue? What about trying to be so careful not to offend anyone that we do not say anything to convict or to instruct?

How can a person be challenged to grow if we do not redirect his or her path in love, and, when needed, call a spade a spade? What about the embracing of sin, saying it is OK in an attempt to show love and acceptance?

This might include embracing homosexuality and saying it is OK. We are called to reach out to all those who are in any kind of sin, including homosexuals, but at the same time, we are not to accept the sin. We are to care and love and show them Christ without compromising morality or His precepts. What about failing to confront people in sin or to condemn the sins of our culture? We must live by example as well as point out errors—not only in our church but also in our society (Exodus 20:1-17; Rom. 1:16-32; 1 Cor. 6:9). We must be careful here, as we can easily slip off His Cornerstone and become a Church of Perfidy!

The Slippery Slope P XI

Are you Watering Down His Word with Trends and the Ideas of Men? 

Perhaps not, you think. What about the preaching in your church? Is it Christ-centered or human-centered? Are you being seeker sensitive yet not communicating Christ’s Sovereignty and Lordship, His holiness and Supremacy (Col.1)?

Are psychology and the over-use of illustrations and stories taking the place of expository preaching?

There is nothing wrong with using the insights of science and behavioral science, as long as we come clean with the veracity of sin and personal responsibility. Are you just teaching popular topics that please people rather than going through the Scriptures verse by verse, thus not teaching? A church does not have to be liberal to water down the Word; it is done in conservative churches all of the time by the neglect of it! If your preaching is weak from a biblical standpoint, you have a Church of Perfidy!

The Slippery Slope P X

If you think your church is ok, consider these points:  

Does Your Church have a Weak Bible? 

Maybe you think not. But, does your church teach that the Bible is not inerrant or inspired? God’s Word is for faith, practice, and is to be our authority for all that we do. Is God’s Word central to the everyday life and happenings at your church?

If not, then books, movies, and philosophy or psychology will take its place such as Bible studies started to study someone’s book (Can I say that is ok if it is one of my books? Oh, I guess not.), and not one of the 66 God has given, taking the words of men over the words of God. Of course it is ok to read and use good Christian books, curriculums, study helps, and such, as long as the Bible is studied first and foremost.

Make sure that any programs of study, even those of ITW, are used only as an addendum alongside God’s Word. His Word is the authority and not some other book. If your church thinking or ministry model takes the words of mere men and uses that to supersede or replace His Word, this is apostasy in action. If your Bible is weak, you have a Church of Perfidy!

Is Spiritual Maturity Important in the Church?

Look what we at the Schaeffer Institute found: 

We are called to spiritual growth—that is, the formation of the investment of faith Christ gives us that we give back to Him in dividends. This is a deep conviction of our faith, a practiced submission that shows our obedience, and a life of personal and relational maturity. We have to listen to God; if not, we will not learn and then we will not grow and then we will not have a life of transformation and growth. Instead, we experience a storm-tossed sea of life, wayward in every perspective because our eyes and ears are not upon our Lord (Hebrews chap 1-6; James 1). 

Eighty-three percent (83%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said their people were content in their Christian faith. 

Eighty-one percent (81%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said they had no regular or effective discipleship program or effort to mentor their people at their church. 

Eighty-one percent (81%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said there was no primary teaching from the pulpit to challenge or deepen their people’s Christian formation (spiritual growth and biblical application) at their church. 

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of the church leaders and pastors surveyed said they either are or will focus on new trends or ideas to try fix something they feel is not working right. Seventy percent (70%) stated this is where their primary time is spent, whereas only 22% of those sought answers for their church problems from God’s Word, good theological sources, or going to more trained and experienced pastors for advice. 

More here:

http://www.churchleadership.org/apps/articles/default.asp?articleid=44952&columnid=4545