Monday, November 23, 2009
Five Signpost of a Healthy Church
Adapted from article by Jack Egger
As we re build our Church, we certainly would like to know how to build a healthy Church. Here are the five signposts.
These five signposts will tell you how to bring our church new strength.
Rediscover your purpose
Our Church has just revised our Vision and Mission in order to establish our purpose. We said “We are a Christ-centred Community impacting our city and beyond” This statement is in broad terms, and we as a Church has to fine-tune to specific purposes.
One of the most observable principles of physics is the law of entropy, which states that things left to themselves will degenerate and become useless. Unfortunately, the Church as an institution has historically been a reliable place to observe this law in action. For example, a telling passage in 2 Kings 22 highlights the "spiritual entropy" that plagued the Israelites throughout the Old Testament. In this chapter, we find the Temple in disrepair—literally falling apart to the degree that young King Josiah imports new stones and timber for its restoration.
Many of today's churches no longer rooted in the Great Commission, they have gradually succumbed to the attacks of entropy and have fallen into a rut of useless activity.
• Satan. The Great Commission embodies all that Satan hates and fears and so he will do everything in his power to destroy a Kingdom Lighthouse. Using the pride, fear and greed of individuals, he subtly bends the focus of a congregation inward, until it can only see itself.
• Division. The interests, experiences and cultural views of individual members, while positive for a congregation in terms of diversity, will hollow it out from the inside if there is no unifying purpose.
• Sin. When it is not dealt with biblically, the sin of individuals—especially church leaders—will tarnish the "light of the world" until it is cold, and dim and ineffective.
Return to the Original Vision
Take an active step by reshaping your original purpose into clear, compelling words that can be adopted and applied by all.
Have you ever experienced a "self-service" church? On the outside, these types of churches are hard to distinguish from other churches unless you know what to look for: a lack of fruit. These churches seek out volunteers, raise money and sponsor activities; but it seems as if their only goal in going through these motions today is to ensure that they will be able to go through them again tomorrow. In other words, their sole purpose for engaging in Christianity is to further the cause of Christianity, not to further the cause of God and bring Him glory through fulfilling His Great Commission.
Rededicate the Church Family
All the members of a Body must covenant to work together before positive steps can be taken and momentum established.
Nature abhors a vacuum and will seek to fill it with anything available. Similarly, no church really exists without a purpose. The problem is that so many churches today simply have the wrong purpose. The church is slowly dragged away from its original vision, which creates a vacuum, and that vacuum is quickly filled with whatever is most convenient and enjoyable.
Reorganize Your Approach to the Community
The church must take an honest look at the community surrounding it and eliminate any blind spots. It has to be relevant to the surrounding community.
Therefore, churches with a blind spot must reorganize their approach to the community and must do so using the examples of those who got it right. For example, in Acts 2, after the anointing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the followers of Jesus were emboldened to take their message to the streets using different languages to make sure they would be heard. They did not care that they were made fun of and ignored by some; they only cared that they were noticed, were given a chance to proclaim the good news, and were used by God to save the community around them. They had no blind spot.
Continually remembering, repenting and redoing your church's vision is essential for its vitality.
God expects us to remember. Throughout the Scriptures, He continually exhorts us to remember our experiences with Him, both good and bad. For example, the Israelites were commanded to remember the miracles of God through feasts and celebrations, such as the ceremony of Passover and the Feast of Booths (see Exod. 12:21-27; Deut. 16:13).
It is important to note that this type of spiritual memory is different from human memory. It bears no resemblance to a middle-aged man looking back at his glory days on the football field. Instead, this spiritual memory is focused on the present and the future. In other words, the primary function of spiritual memory is to relocate an original vision in order to adjust the present and prepare for the future.