20. A Strong Doctrinal Statement that Unites Rather than Divides
Most churches never grow because they become known for what they are against rather than what they stand for. A healthy church loves the Bible, therefore a healthy church will love doctrine, theology, apologetics, mission statements, and biblical studies, as these are applications in which the Bible should be valued above every other book or source of knowledge.
The key to a healthy church, though, is having the ability to use doctrine as a unifying force rather than a dividing force. A healthy church will take a stand on top tier issues essential to Christianity, but it will also know how to teach on other topics while leaving room for individual Christians to disagree.
To be a member of a healthy church, you should have to agree on things like Jesus’ divinity, the Trinity, the inerrancy of Scripture, and other top tier issues that are crucial to orthodoxy. But if you can’t be a member of a church because you have a slightly different view on predestination, something is wrong.
As Augustine said, “In essential unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
21. A Healthy Church Works With Other Churches
A sign of a healthy church is an observable value placed on other ministries and churches. A church that never works with other churches typically has an elitist attitude. A healthy church, however, knows that it is not the center of God’s kingdom. Each church has a special part to play, but anytime a church begins to elevate its own status over other good churches, the formation of a cult is not too far behind.
Sometimes churches will just not work well together, but if your church can’t work with anyone, that’s an unhealthy sign. A healthy church knows how to include others without compromising its own goals and beliefs.
22. A Healthy Church Has Younger and Older Leaders With a Culture of Mentoring
While the whole church should show age diversity, a healthy church takes special pains to make sure it is always multiplying future leaders. A good church is not threatened by gifted younger ministers. A healthy church celebrates younger people when they show an aptitude for ministry. They will give young people opportunities to preach, to lead worship, and to take on responsibilities of consequence.
If a young person plants a church, naturally that church will probably have a higher average of younger leaders. But a wise leader will make sure he surrounds himself with people who have walked his trail before. If a young pastor never elevates leaders older than him, it probably means he is insecure and doesn’t like to listen. A young pastor should not be looked down on because of his age, but a young pastor should also not look down on older people because of their age either.
23. A Concern for the Needy and Oppressed
A healthy church is about proclaiming the gospel. But if a church is not also proclaiming the gospel through their actions, they are not healthy. A healthy church knows how to balance the importance of actually explaining the gospel and showing the gospel. It’s easier to show the gospel. No one gets persecuted for helping the poor and being a good member of the community. Therefore the temptation for the church will be to serve well and proclaim Christ poorly.
With that said, the solution is not to abandon acts of charity. A healthy church will use its charitable acts as a way of verbally and visibly proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
24. A Healthy Church Loves and Proclaims the Glory of God
There are many, many biblical topics a healthy church will teach on. But super healthy churches link everything back to the glory of God. When the glory of God is the main theme of the church, everything else will fall into place. Huge problem occur when anything but the glory of God begin to take center stage. Everything is about God. Everything is meant to glorify him. The greatest sign of a healthy church is a church that views everything through the lens of God’s glory.
A Bonus Sign of a Super Healthy Church:
25. Honest Self-Assessment
In conclusion, there are countless signs to a healthy church. This list was just 24 really important signs. And it’s good to remember that a super healthy church will never be a perfect church. Churches who need to improve in some of the signs mentioned here can still be super healthy.
Perhaps the last sign of a healthy church worth mentioning is the desire to continue to improve. All healthy churches can take an honest look at their own faults without becoming defensive, self-condemning, or clinging to denial. A super healthy church will always seek the grace of God for improvement – all for his glory.