Do you have a sneaking suspicion that your church may not be as healthy as it could be?
Or perhaps you already know that your church is really unhealthy and are silently crying out for healing and renewal. What can you do?
Pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit and search the Bible for God’s wisdom. As God Himself said, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land” 2 Chronicles 7:14. It all starts with reaching up to God, our Creator and the Source of life.
Honestly and objectively assess the health of your church. You could do this by planning a reflection time with the leadership team of your church where you can openly identify the areas of weakness that need to be improved. A more thorough and comprehensive approach is to undertake a structured church health assessment, such as the Natural Church Development (NCD) survey.
Identify key strategies to address areas of weakness in your church. These strategies need to have SMART goals, ie goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed.
If you really want to grow and become healthy, you need to set SMART goals and not just talk abstractly about how you wish you could be better than you currently are.
After establishing clear SMART goals, your leadership team needs to establish ways of monitoring these areas in your church and keeping everyone accountable to the vision and the goals that you have set. This needs to be done in a gracious and encouraging way—nothing is going to turn away people from your church faster than if you use judgmental or heavy-handed approaches to trying to become healthier and more loving! However, you do need to be courageous and kind in encouraging everyone to achieve the vision of the church.
Finally, your leadership team needs to assess the progress of your church. If you have made significant progress, by the grace of God, it is reason to celebrate and praise God for what He has done in your church. Now that you know the process through which growth can be achieved, you can take further steps to grow. It may be possible that you are not satisfied with the growth that has occurred. This is the time to objectively assess how more significant growth can occur in your church. “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:15,16
Contributed by Sven Östring, Director of Discipleship Movements in the Greater Sydney Conference