Church health is a balancing act that can only be achieved when the church strategy and structure are designed to fulfill all five New Testament purposes for the church. They are worship, evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, and ministry.
Without a strategy and structure to intentionally balance these five purposes, one purpose may outweigh the others, resulting in overemphasizing the single purpose that leadership is most passionate about.
“We tend to go to seed on one truth at a time,” says Saddleback Pastor, Rick Warren. “One seminar might say the key to growth is small groups. At another, it’s volunteer recruitment, or dynamic worship, or creative outreach, or strong preaching. The fact is, they’re all important. When a church emphasizes any one purpose to the neglect of others, that produces imbalance and it’s unhealthy. Being unhealthy stunts a lot of churches.”
Pastor Rick recommends that four things must happen in order to keep things balanced:
• Move people into membership
• Build them up to maturity
• Train them for ministry
• Send them out on their mission
To gauge whether you’re doing these four things effectively, start by creating a clear discipleship process. Pastor Rick explains, “Just as our vital signs tell us whether our physical bodies are in good health or not, the health of a church is quantifiable. Using a well-defined process, a church can easily measure how many more people are involved in ministry in one month than the previous month.”
How you accomplish those four objectives doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you are bringing people to Christ, into the fellowship of his family, building them up to maturity, training them for ministry, and sending them out in mission.
Pastor Rick is quick to point out that just because a church is healthy, doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There will never be a perfect church this side of heaven because every church is filled with immature believers along with the mature ones.
“We’re not in the sorting business,” Pastor Rick says. “We’re in the harvesting business. We get a lot of unhealthy people at church because society is getting sicker. But Jesus demonstrated that ministering to hurting people was more important than maintaining purity. When you fish with a big net, you catch all kinds of fish.”
At the end of it all, it comes down to church health and not church growth. If churches are healthy, growth will automatically be part of the process. In order for this to happen, our message must be biblical and our mission balanced. Each of the five New Testament purposes of the church must be in equilibrium with the others for health to occur. Through this, we can achieve the five dimensions of a healthy church:
• Grow warmer through fellowship
• Grow deeper through discipleship
• Grow stronger through worship
• Grow broader through ministry
• Grow larger through evangelism
“I don’t have to command my kids to grow,” Pastor Rick says. “If I provide them with a healthy environment, their growth is automatic. In the same way, if you provide your church with a healthy, balanced environment, growth will occur naturally.”
To learn how to build a healthy Purpose Driven Church, connect with a PD Coach today at pd.church/start.