8 Characteristics of a 1 Corinthians 12 Church

8 Characteristics of a 1 Corinthians 12 Church

Many of us grew up in churches where the pastors did most of the work, and few of us were challenged to find our place in the church. These churches weren’t what I call “1 Corinthians 12” churches—churches that understand what it means to be the Body of Christ. Use these markers to determine if your church is a 1 Corinthians 12 church:

1. They teach that God has a plan in putting His body together. God doesn’t accidentally bring together hands, feet, ears and eyes. The problem is that many church members never learn that truth unless their pastor is preaching through 1 Corinthians.

2. They tell members early, “Everyone must find a role here.” In fact, they often tell prospective members this truth. If God has a plan, and He brings people to the church, He must have a place for them.

3. Nobody is permitted to sit long. Guests who are “checking out” the church might get a pass for a while, but no one else does. Even those attenders who need to heal a bit aren’t given long to do so. First Corinthians 12 leaves no room for inactive church membership.

4. They have in place a process to move people from the pew to action. They do much more than make pulpit and bulletin announcements. Instead, they have face-to-face conversations and life discussions that help people determine how they might best serve God through the church.

5. They strategize with people in mind, not just programs and positions. Too many churches start with programs and positions and then look for people to force into those slots. These things matter, but God might bring someone to the church because He wants to expand the church’s thinking. First Corinthians 12 churches start with people.

6. They’re willing to let some positions remain empty until they find the right people to fill them. Making sure all the positions are filled might make the church feel better, but putting the wrong people in positions (e.g., putting an “eye” where an “ear” ought to be) leads only to burnout and trouble.

7. They still provide (and often require) training. That is, they don’t assume that just because somebody is designed to be a “foot” that he’s fully ready to take on that role; they help members become all that God wants them to be through training and accountability.

8. They intentionally grow as a church family. The Body of Christ is also the family of God, and 1 Corinthians 12 churches understand that truth. Even if only via the small groups of the largest churches, these congregations weep and rejoice with each other. They care and serve together.

Is your church a 1 Corinthians 12 church?  

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Chuck Lawless
Chuck Lawless currently serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions and Dean of Graduate Studies at Southeastern Seminary. You can connect with Dr. Lawless on Twitter @Clawlessjr and on at facebook.com/CLawless.

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