Health and Growth of a Church
By Bill Pierson

        It is the essence of healthy things to grow and that includes churches in spiritual depth and numbers. "The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seeds upon the ground; and goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts up and grows - how, he himself does not know. The earth produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, and then the mature grain in the head. But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-29)
        This parable clearly shows what the church can and cannot do to promote growth by ourselves. As in nature, so in the church; only God can make life grow "with no apparent cause". Yet if the good seed is to reach its maximum potential there is something farmers (Christians) can do to help the process along. Namely, we must sow, water and harvest. For it is as we do these things that we provide a healthy atmosphere in which the good seed can flourish and God can then make it bear fruit. Thus there is God's part and our part in the health and growth process.
        What precisely is our part in the process of church health? It has been determined that there are eight quality characteristics that are required in order to provide a healthy environment in which the church can grow.

  1. Leaders who are empowered by the body of Christ for ministry
  2. Members who minister in their area of gifted talents in the power of the Holy Spirit
  3. Cultivating a passionate Christian spirituality which manifests itself in a vibrant prayer life of deepening relationship with the Lord
  4. Maintaining functional structures which serve to facilitate the vision God has given the church while pruning away nonfunctional ones
  5. Engaging in spiritual worship where God is manifestly present and worship in spirit and truth
  6. Developing holistic small groups which encourage members to grow in the Holy Spirit by applying the Bible to daily life
  7. Practicing need oriented evangelism where the focus of outreach is on the questions and needs of the non-church going
  8. Demonstrating Christ-like love day by day in church relationships and with others

        God is looking for people who are hungry and thirsty for him; who walk in humility and have a passion for Jesus and His Holiness. We must strive to provide the healthy atmosphere in our church and help the seed to grow.

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