The goal is to find the heart of the church, what has God called us to do and why!
The Significant Seven (These points also relate to the Lordship of Christ!)
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5: 18
1. The number one reason people come and bring other people to a church is the love and Fruit that is real, felt, and displayed.
(This is why the Mormon Church grows, even with aberrant and cultic doctrine; people will look past that when they are loved. Imagine what would happen if we honestly loved and taught real, biblical, uncompromised truth—yet so few churches do that!) People are motivated to bring other people when there is “real” hospitality and warmth in the Church—where they feel welcomed and a part of, connected, safe, and content, as well as stimulated to learn and grow. These church people are motivated by Christ and thus are learning and growing in Him, demonstrating they care for Him.
2. The number two reason people stay a part of a church is the teaching aptitude of the pastor to stimulate spiritual knowledge and growth.
The best growing churches in the world have solid, biblical preaching at their core. These churches preach the holiness of God, the blood of Jesus, how to worship, how to deal with sin, how to relate to one another, and how to love one another, and biblical precepts for knowledge and living, which the leaders are modeling! All of the preaching is done by and through the Word with power (His), conviction, passion (real sincerity and eagerness to live for Christ), clarity (taught in a way people understood), and in truth (uncompromised Word of God). These churches do not dilute God’s truth or misrepresent the Gospel message. These churches lift up the cross! When there is no effective Bible teaching, the church will fail or become a showcase for an egomaniacal, charismatic personality who may motivate but does not instruct, and/or teaches false doctrine. When that person leaves the church (if it ever was a church), it will quickly die. Your church must be centered on the Person of Christ—not a personality!
3. The number one reason people will stop going to any church is because of conflict and gossip!
Healthy churches have a plan to recognize and then resolve conflict and sin. The best plans and calls of the Lord will stall out in the presence of conflict! If the rumors, conflicts, and lack of Fruit are not managed, the people will leave because all that is left is inhospitality. The people who stay will be the “problem people,” continuing to create factions, disunity, and strife. Healthy churches are on the lookout for people and leaders who have agendas and attitudes that are contrary to God’s Word. They are counseled, and if they will not stop, they are removed from fellowship until they repent.
4. The number one reason why people are stimulated to serve is because the Bible is taught in a real, effectual, and applicable way.
They want to be a part of it. The people who leave because of the Bible teaching are the people who do not want to be challenged or convicted. These people will not serve anyway and will not give, but they will cause trouble. We are called to reach and care for them, but as the Bible says, these are the “tares.” God asks us to cultivate His wheat.
5. The number one reason people grow spiritually is by being encouraged to read through the Bible, do devotions, and practice the disciplines of the faith as modeled by the leadership.
These churches equip and disciple their people, not just in the basics of the faith, but also in how to be Christians in their daily lives and to live their lives to His glory! The pastors and leaders teach and model passionate spirituality; they challenge and model for their people how to grow beyond themselves in achieving spiritual passion and conviction and are joyful in doing so. From this pool, new leadership is formed and recruited. Churches that cannot find leadership have people who are not discipled, and who are not willing or do not know how to lead.
6. The number one reason a church is effective in its outreach and missions is because of its real, authentic worship.
There is a direct correlation between authentic service and authentic worship! Worship is seen as a response to God—our gratitude for who He is and what He has done. Thus, people respond with their service, too. Churches that do not have “real” worship have little to no missions, or the people in it are from other churches. These churches do not overemphasize the “seeker,” and ignore discipleship! They do not turn their worship into mere entertainment. Real, heartfelt, God exalting adoration must be the focus of the worship service. These churches never just entertain, lift up the leaders, or become presentation orientated. They see worship as the Bible teaches; God is the audience and we are the performers who praise and glorify Him! These churches are still able to make their services friendly and creative, but the focus is to glorify Christ. In biblical theology, we do church—from faith, fellowship, and outreach on to service—for One and only One reason: TO WORSHIP CHRIST! Effective churches get this; ineffective churches do not.
7. Healthy churches that are growing in Christ have prayer as a primary focus from the pulpit to the boardroom to their personal lives.
These churches operate in and with an organized prayer base. These healthy churches are prayerful in all aspects of church life and ministry. They are reliant upon God’s power and the authority of His Word
Our principle focus for the last 15 plus years is seeking why so many churches are failing.
Over one thousand one hundred three (1,103) churches surveyed and tracked for 12-plus years (Some churches were added and some subtracted by closure or missing or unavailable data).