We’ve been talking the last several weeks about “Why Church?”. I’ve really enjoyed this time of study and reflection on the Lord’s design for His church, and what implications that has for us, both corporately and individually. When we understand our purpose and design as people who gather together in reverence of our Lord, we are better able to function as intricate parts of a greater whole. Just as our bodies are more efficient when all the parts are whole and healthy, our church is more impactful when its “body” functions with balance, purpose, and a unified vision.
When we look at the metrics of measuring a healthy church, there is an excellent list synthesized by Pastor Rick Warren, based on Acts 2:42−47:
- Churches grow warmer through fellowship.
- Churches grow deeper through discipleship.
- Churches grow stronger through worship.
- Churches grow broader through ministry.
- Churches grow larger through evangelism.
With these five elements in balance, the natural result will be growth within the church—because healthy things grow.
Now, if this list is a metric that we can use to determine if a church is healthy, and if WE are the church, then we can use this list to determine our own personal health within the greater church body. What are the ways we can increase the “warmth” of our fellowship within our church? How can we deepen our personal discipleship? Where are the areas we can grow stronger in our individual times of worship? How do we broaden the scope of our own personal call to ministry? What can we do to evangelize the lost and grow God’s Kingdom within our workplace, or our family—the areas outside the immediate reach of our local church congregation?
I’ll admit, some of these points are easier for me to apply to a larger group than to myself personally. But we, as God’s church, are designed by Him to be an influencing agent for the purpose of advancing His Kingdom, and we can only influence others to the point that we ourselves are equipped and prepared. You can’t draw water from an empty well—or, a body can’t lift someone up if its arms are broken. All these things—fellowship, discipleship, worship, ministry, and evangelism—begin with individual people choosing to open their hearts to the Lord, and submit their lives to His shaping. When this happens, we can truly see growth in our lives and in our church, which will flow out to those around us. It all starts with us!