It is not a strange idea to visit your family physician annually for a routine check-up to make sure that your health is okay. If not, you might discover that you have a serious or life-threatening disease when it is too late. In the same way, a church will do well to consider its health regularly.

I deliberately avoid the word “successful” in favour of the word “healthy”. The criteria we select will be largely influenced by a “success” or “health” paradigm. Some people are considered to be successful because they own multiple properties, and vehicles and have great financial clout and influence. Yet, their marriage is shipwrecked, their children are scattered, and they have fallen victim to various coping mechanisms. A public success, and yet a private failure.

What is the most biblical way to define a “healthy” church? Should a church be considered “healthy” when it draws large crowds of people to its meetings? Perhaps a church is “healthy” when most of its growth comes from new converts or has a social outreach programme serving the 0community. Is an effective children’s ministry or youth program the key element for “health”; or perhaps the fact that the church engages well with the culture in the city? There are many different things we could focus on.

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