Wednesday, January 11, 2006

7 marks of a healthy church... 7/7

The last of Warren's Seven marks of health.
Does a few things and does them well. One of the most surprising characteristics of these churches, which results from a sense of responding to God's call on their time and effort, is the quiet purposefulness of their life. They are not rushing around madly but enjoying what they do and seeing the positive results of doing a quality job.
It reminds me on one hand to be careful of the much bounded about 'build it and watch them come concept' get the programmes right stand back and watch people flow into church. On the other hand it challenged me in an area where whatever you do is not enough to not spread yourself too thin and to acknowledge that there are others who do things better than you.

As a reminder Warren's marks of health are as follows...
  • Energized by faith.
  • Outward-looking focus.
  • Seeks to find out what God wants.
  • Faces the cost of change and growth.
  • Operates as a community.
  • Makes room for all.
  • Does a few things and does them well.
Now all we need to do is get them alright and the church is a healthy place to be!! That's all there is to it. What are we waiting for!!

There has to be more to it. I've had conversations with friends and colleagues who would go out of their way to let me know how they can tick all these boxes on health. But equally I've had conversations with people who recognise their church's weakness, vulnerability but have a real attitude of "but we try...!" I kind of know where I would be drawnto, the kind of community I would feel at home with!

Church health is perhaps less about chalking up an academics wish list but more about attitude which is why Warren's book was a helpful read as he sums it up with two further quotes.
Churches with these characteristics are deeply attractive because their focus in not on themselves and their programmes but on God's goodness and reality and on the world around them. They are, indeed, living the two great commandments. Pp25

Then he observes the fact that:-
Growing churches were not majoring on growing , but simply on doing a good job of being church. Pp 83

7 marks of a healthy church... 1/7
7 marks of a healthy church... 2/7
7 marks of a healthy church... 3/7
7 marks of a healthy church... 4/7
7 marks of a healthy church... 5/7
7 marks of a healthy church... 6/7
7 marks of a healthy church... 7/7


Sister said...

What continues to bother me about this list is that it makes no mention of functional health - ie, healthy communication, healthy decision making, handling differences in healthy ways (conflict transformation), clear role expectations, and a whole-church covenant for health.

This would be the approach of the Fit4Life workshops I've been looking at, which were developed by the Baptist church in Australia. I notice also from Church Growth classes that churches that are apparently healthy according to accepted CG criteria, do not necessarily grow. And sometimes it is churches that appear unhealthy that are growing. This suggests to me that something is lacking in the currently circulated criteria for church health. I wonder if it is the component of functional health. Just a thought.

Pax et bonum

Gordon said...

Good thoughts Lana - I think you would be surprised by Warren though as he really isn't that interested in CG as we know it. I have a post ready on Natural Church Development and the difference in the approaches is distinct.