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10 Characteristics of a Healthy Church

Cultivating a servant’s heart is more than holding a conviction that God has given you a place in the body and a spiritual gift. It is being sensitive to the needs around you and serving others.

5. Joy

Joy is our response to God’s work in our heart, soul and mind. We all deal with heartache and suffering, but God desires to give us His ongoing, continual joy.

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.—Philippians 4:4

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.—Romans 14:17

6. Gratitude

Talk about a sign of health—giving thanks is a powerful and healing decision. A church full of people who give thanks to God for who He is, what He has given, and how He is working is a healthy church.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.—1 Thessalonians 5:18

7. Accountability

In a healthy church, members are concerned for one another. They recognize that the church is a body and that God designed us to be accountable, not only to Him, but also to one another for spiritual growth, health and help in times of struggle.

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.—Galatians 6:1–2

8. Forgiveness

The church cannot survive without forgiveness. Why? Because we are not perfect people, and relationships are messy. There are no real relationships without both the need for and the giving of forgiveness.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.—Matthew 6:12

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.—Ephesians 4:32

9. Vision

A healthy church maintains an attitude of hope for the future. Indeed, death comes when memories of the past supersede vision for the future. We need a sense of vision for our own growth in grace and for the growth of our church outreach.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen—2 Peter 3:18

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.—1 Thessalonians 1:8

10. Sacrifice

When it comes to fulfilling the mission of the church, the question is not, “How much does it cost?” but, “Who can we reach with the gospel?” A godly vision is worthy of sacrifice.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.—Matthew 6:19–21

A healthy church isn’t a perfect church; it is a growing church. It is a church where members are submitted to the Lord and functioning as a church body in the ways He designed the church to function. And it is a church whose spiritual health enables it to continue reaching the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

This article originally appeared here.

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Dr. Paul Chappell is the pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church and the president of West Coast Baptist College in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter @PaulChappell and find him on Facebook. He and his wife, Terrie, have written a new book on marriage, Are We There Yet? Marriage—an Imperfect Journey for Perfect Couples. For more information on this book or to order, visit AreWeThereYetBook.com.