In the next few weeks, I will be discussing about the 8 essential qualities of healthy churches. These 8 essential qualities are very important not only for the health of the church but also for the growth of the church. This list came from a research conducted by Christian Schwarz and his book entitled “Natural Church Development: A Guide to Eight Essential Qualities of Healthy Churches”
Here’s a brief summary of what it is:
Enabling Leadership (2 Timothy 2:2) – Since we talked about leadership, one of the key factors that we emphasized is all about enablement of the ministry leaders. Our key passage is found on 2 Timothy 2:2 where Paul said, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. This is very important because this identifies the continuity of our ministry.
Gift-based Ministry (Ephesians 4:11) – “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers…” Gift based-ministry is all about involvement of individuals based on their God given gifts. Therefore, it is important that each of us need to know our God given gifts.
Passionate Spirituality (John 14:26) – Passionate spirituality is about being “spirit-filled” church.”26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” It is the Holy Spirit who guides the church, it is He who prompts the church through the church leaders what task has to be done, what goal has to be achieved, what vision needs to be seen.
Useful Structures (1Timothy 3:1-12) – This suggests that each department has to function as it should be. The Church structure should always promote growth instead of hindering it. Notice how Paul laid down the qualification of an overseer. Again, each leader has to be a “working leader”, a functional unit, people doing what is assigned.
It is recommended that each leader will also have an assistant leader who will be taking “on the job” training mode. It is also advised that they will be assigned to work based on their gifts. In this way, they will not only work well but they will also enjoy the ministry given to them.
Inspiring Worship Services (Acts 2:3) – One of the best examples of a spirit-filled worship is found in Acts 2. “They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.” Now, we are not expecting that each one of us will be standing and immediately speak in tongues, but what this passage is telling us, a true worship, an inspiring worship is a worship that is meaningful.
Obviously, we fail in our worship when it is not a spirit-filled worship. To achieve a spirit-filled worship, there some things that we can do before worship. We will have a deeper discussion on this later.
Comprehensive Small Groups (Acts 1:12-14) – This is about meeting the needs of the small groups. The group should not just be about meeting together, it is about building relationship with each other. It is about developing the bond with each other where each member of the group will be excited to invite other people to join their group.
It is important though that as we implement small groups, our groups has to be directed to spirituality and deeper understanding and experiencing God which is the main purpose of the groups. Small groups are not intended for busy buddies and unsolicited talks about other people’s lives.
Need-meeting Evangelism (Acts 3:6) – Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Some people call this “holistic approach”. It is not just about preaching on helping others, it is about meeting the specific needs of the people. Notice how we open relationship with other people? How do we find friendship with other people? It is about meeting their needs.
When we converse with the people, usually we talk about their needs. Their need of someone to love them, their need of money, their need of healing, their need of comfort, etc. This is the model that Jesus himself implemented in his ministry, it is meeting the need.
Loving Relationships (John 13:34-35) – 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” There is no better testimony to the world than to show the world that we love each other. Meeting other people’s need is loving one another, being there during the lowest ebb in one’s life is showing God’s love. There is no better testimony than love. It is God’s love that pushed our God to give His only begotten Son.
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By Christian A. Schwarz / Churchsmart Resources
When Natural Church Development was first published in 1996, it not only opened a new chapter in the international discussion on church growth, but it also initiated a vibrant movement of striving for church health that now encompasses more than 65,000 churches in 70 countries. With this new edition, Christian A. Schwarz presents and updated and revised version of what has become a classic on church health.