Church Growth Is OK, but Church Health Is What Matters

The New Testament says a lot about the health of the church. Consider just a few verses:

“As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing.” —Eph. 4:16b (NLT)

“The focus of my letter wasn’t on punishing the offender but on getting you to take responsibility for the health of the church.” —2 Cor. 2:9 (Message)

“You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other.” —James 3:18 (Message)

Church health is the key to church growth. All living things grow if they’re healthy. You don’t have to make them grow—it’s just natural for living organisms. As a parent, I didn’t have to force my three children to grow. They naturally grew up. As long as I removed the hindrances, such as poor nutrition or an unsafe environment, their growth was automatic.

If my children had not grown up, something would have been terribly wrong. I would have done whatever it took to discover the disease and correct it. I wouldn’t have remained passive, spouting clichés about faithfulness or wanting “quality not quantity” in my children.

The same principle is true for the church. Since the church is a living organism, it’s natural for it to grow if it’s healthy. The church is a Body, not a business—an organism, not an organization. It’s alive. If a church is not growing, it is dying.

What then is the secret of church health?

In a word, it’s balance!

Your body has nine different systems (circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, etc.). When these systems are all in balance, it produces health. But when your body gets out of balance, we call that “disease.” Likewise, when the Body of Christ becomes unbalanced, disease occurs. Health and growth can only occur when everything is brought into balance.

The Importance of Balance

Our entire world is based on this principle of balance. Our planet was perfectly balanced by God, at just the right angle on its axis to support life. It rotates at a speed that minimizes vibration. If this planet were just a little closer to the sun, we’d burn up, and if it were just a few miles further away from the sun, we’d freeze to death.

Nature is a collection of ecosystems that live in balance with each other. We now know that even the tiniest variation in the ecosystem creates a chain reaction. God has set up a food chain with plants and animals in balance.

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Rick Warren
Dr. Rick Warren is passionate about attacking what he calls the five “Global Goliaths” – spiritual emptiness, egocentric leadership, extreme poverty, pandemic disease, and illiteracy/poor education. His goal is a second Reformation by restoring responsibility in people, credibility in churches, and civility in culture. He is a pastor, global strategist, theologian, and philanthropist. He’s been often named "America's most influential spiritual leader" and “America’s Pastor.