This week we were at the beautiful University of Notre Dame to speak to a gathering there, including church leaders from every part of the country. We began our presentation the way we always begin: with a qualifier. We claim only to know what works when it comes to growing a healthy church in Timonium, Maryland at this particular moment in time. Period. We hope to provide principles and practices that are transferable to other church settings and we believe we do. But, you have to adapt them to your setting and situation in a way that works for you. And that will take work, probably lots of work. There are no silver bullets and one size does not fit all.
That said, there are overarching practices and principles that probably apply everywhere when it comes to growing healthy churches. Here are five as outlined by church blogger Tony Morgan (TonyMorganLive.com):
- Healthy churches have a clear mission and vision. And, don’t miss this, the mission and vision are yoked to a clear action plan. In other words, they know who they are, where they are going and how they are going to get there.
- Healthy churches have a clear discipleship strategy to help people grow as more fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. It’s clear, it’s simple for people to follow.
- Healthy churches simplify their structure, procedures, governance, and all the ways in which they work, to go further faster in mission and vision.
- Healthy church, while growing disciples, are at the same time outwardly focused, they’re trying to reach people outside the church and outside the faith. They don’t fall for the lie that you can’t go deep and wide.
- Healthy churches make leadership a priority, getting the right people in the right leadership seats and giving them not only responsibility but authority to lead.
That said, please hear this: healthy churches can come in any size, are found in every kind of community, ascribe to many different denominations, enjoy different styles of music and worship, can be rich or poor – you get the idea.
Any church can be a healthy church if you are trying to be the church Christ calls you to be by making disciples. Its not about changing your Mass times or adding a contemporary service or selling coffee on Sunday morning, its about being the Church Christ wants.