There are no perfect churches. But there are healthy and unhealthy churches. How can you know the difference? Here are five signs of a healthy church.
- Worship. Sunday morning gatherings (or whenever you meet) are not just social gatherings but instead there is an expectation to experience and adore God. The attitude should not be that we have to go to church but that we get to go to church.
- Bible. Christians don’t (or at least shouldn’t) worship the Bible but it is through the Bible that we get to know Jesus and understand what it means to be his followers. There should be an emphasis on the teaching of the Bible. This doesn’t have to be passage-by-passage preaching through a book of the Bible but it should be more than self-help motivational talks.
- Love within the community. How do people within the church family get along? Is the church divided? Is the congregation marked by gossip and slander? The church should be a family that cares for each other, not just for an hour on a Sunday, but throughout the week.
- Helping people. The reason why churches are considered charities and receive tax benefits is that they are supposed to be helping people in need. The motivation should not be the tax receipts but because it is the right thing to do. Churches should be seeking to help people in their community (not just those who are part of the congregation) is practical ways.
- Sharing truth. If we truly believe that Jesus is real and that he changes lives, we should want to share that message with others. I’m not talking about shoving religion down the throats of people who don’t want to hear. But we should be as willing to share Jesus as much as we do the latest health fad or technological innovation.
How does your church fit with these markers? If your church is weak in any (or all) of these, the answer is not to leave but to consider what you can do to change your church, starting with you.