“If numbers aren’t the only way to tell if a church is healthy, what else is there?”
I get that question a lot. Mostly from other pastors.
And no, they’re not being facetious when they ask it. They truly don’t know the answer.
Isn’t that… I don’t know… a little disturbing to anyone? Have we really become so obsessed with numbers that many pastors don’t know what a healthy church looks like, outside of crunching the numbers?
No, I’m not opposed to taking church attendance or tracking our numbers. I’m in favor of it. Numbers can help us see things objectively that we might otherwise be blind to.
But just like a lack of numbers can blind us to some critical facts, an obsession with numbers can blind us to essential truths. Numbers are not the only way to determine church health. In some situations, they’re not even the best way.
Numbers may inform us, but they don’t define us.
So, what non-numerical criteria can we use to determine church health?
I’ve been compiling a list.
It started as 6 or 7. But it keeps growing. As of today, it has 23 elements. I’ve been waiting until the list was complete to publish it, but I’ve come realize it will never be complete. So consider this a starter list.
Feel free to add to it in the comment section.
23 Non-Numerical Signs of a Healthy Church
- Volunteers Care More About Doing Ministry than Having a Title
- There are More Ministry Teams than Committees
- Departments Cooperate with Each Other
- The Church Cooperates With Other Churches
- The Church Looks Like the Neighborhood (Demographically)
- The Church Goes Into the Neighborhood
- The Congregation Is Getting Younger, not Older
- The Front Rows are as Full as the Back Rows
- The Bulletin Isn’t Just about Internal Events
- Guests Feel Special
- Volunteerism is High
- Ministry Ideas Bubble Up
- New Ideas Are Embraced
- New Leadership Is Embraced
- Long-time Leadership Is Honored
- The Bible Is Honored
- Worship Is More than Just Singing
- People Like Bringing their Friends
- Congregation Members Love Each Other
- Congregation Members Like Each Other
- People Are Being Saved and Discipled
- It’s a Safe Place to Ask Hard Questions
- People Pray – A Lot
Not Exhaustive Or Essential
Please note that this list is not designed to add pressures to an already overtaxed church leadership. It’s not a you-must-do-all-these-to-be-healthy list, as much as a here-are-some-other-ways-to-look-at-health list.
While some elements (like #16) are essential for every healthy church, others are not. For example, if you’re in an aging neighborhood, doing #5 may mean you’re not doing #7.
While all of them are good, and some are essential, you’d be hard-pressed to find even a great, healthy church that’s doing all of them well.
So use this list as an encouragement and an aid, not a source of intimidation. Take note of what you’re doing well, strengthen the ones you should be doing better and use others as an idea list for the future.
So what do you think? Do you have any ideas to add to the list?
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
Enter your comment right below this post and get in on the conversation.