So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
There isn’t a church on the planet that doesn’t want to be healthy and leave an eternal impact on the world. In every church all real impact is determined by the power and grace of God. In light of this reality there are three areas every church ought to aim to excel in order to have a healthy, strong, impactful church.
One is not more important than the other as they are all reliant on one another for a church to be effective.
Three categories every church needs for health and impact:
- People Development.
The mission of every church is the same because God determines the mission: “make disciples of all nations.” No church exists without that mission. Churches must work hard and intentionally to see people grow into full maturity in Christ.
If people aren’t being discipled and developed in a church it means lives aren’t being changed and people are not growing. If people aren’t growing and being developed they will soon not be excited about being a part of the church and will look elsewhere. Also, if churches aren’t intentionally developing people today their leadership will look bleak tomorrow. Making a real impact means being more than a flash in the pan. No church will be more than a flash in the pan without intentional development of its people. Disciples must be made and people have to be developed in a way they can lead others.
Finally, if a church isn’t constantly developing people with different and unique gifts and new perspectives it will not be able to keep up with change. Soon its level of excellence, vision, and accomplishment will whither. The church needs to develop a wide range of people because God has given a wide range of gifts in order to build up his bride. When the people are developed, growing in maturity in Christ, the church gains strength.
There is no such thing as a generic church. God gives every church unique leaders, puts them in a specific context, and makes them with their own personality. It is vitally important for every church to understand its unique values and have them constantly reaffirmed throughout the entire church.
The gospel is the best news of all time. But, it doesn’t matter how great the news is if the culture in which it gets delivered speaks something contrary to the message. A church can’t say it “loves sinners,” but then shun the gay man that walks through their doors. Every church must affirm with their culture what they declare with their message and find ways to push that culture down throughout the entire church. Values are not abstract, they must be practiced and delivered in concrete ways throughout the entire church.
Without a strong culture, even if people are getting developed, if they don’t know who the church really is and what it stands for the church can degenerate into paralysis and confusion. People want to know (and need to know) exactly what they are a part of so they can be a positive contributor, not just a watching consumer.
A church has to be able to look at concrete results to see how it is doing. Sadly, this seems “unspiritual” to many churches. There is nothing unspiritual about look at numbers so you can realize, “We have had 300 less people over the last three months, we need to figure out where are people are going and why.” If a church cares about its people, it will care about numbers.
Measurables are vital because it brings objectivity to health and impact. Just because a pastor “feels like it’s going well” doesn’t mean it is going well. When baptisms are down, giving is down, attendance is down, less people are serving, and fewer people are living in biblical community… things aren’t good. Without tracking the measurables of the church you miss an opportunity to celebrate things God is doing in your church and evaluate areas where you need to grow. A church needs to know its numbers so it can clearly evaluate where it is strong and where it needs to grow in order to become strong.