It is not uncommon for churches to think they are healthy but in reality be slowly dying. These churches have reasons for thinking they are heathy. They have metrics that they point to, but unfortunately they are looking in the wrong places. Here are 5 bad things to use when gauging church health.
A lot of income or a large bank account can be a sign of health, but not necessarily. It is possible for a church to have a large bank account but then sit back and rely on their money more than they rely on God. It is possible for people to give a lot of money, but do so with a country club mentality that says they are simply paying their dues so that they can be catered to. This is not a sign of health. In fact, it is a sign of severe sickness.
2- Growing Attendance
Growing attendance can be a sign of health, but not always. Sometimes attendance is growing because another church in the area is having problems. Your attendance may be increasing from transfer growth — people transferring to your church from other churches. If your church is not growing from people being saved and baptized, health is a fantasy. If this is what your growth looks like, you are failing to do what God has called the church to do.
3- A Busy Calendar
Activity does not always equal ministry. Just because your church has a lot of ‘stuff’ on its calendar, there is no guarantee that the church is healthy. In fact, too many activities, programs, and events can be a sign of sickness — especially if the majority of those events are inwardly focused. Churches must avoid the temptation to assume that activity guarantees health.
4- A Few Big Events Every Year
It is tempting to look at high attendance at a few big events, see the excitement those events can create, and automatically assume that your church is healthy. Those events can be part of a healthy church, but when they stand alone and do not lead to evangelistic church growth, they are deceptive.
5- Nice Facilities
When a church has nice facilities they have to be careful not to develop an inwardly focused mindset. This mindset believes that the church exists for its members rather than for disciple-making. It is a mindset that says we want the lost to come to the church rather than the biblical model of the saved going to the lost. When nice facilities lead to this mindset, health is nowhere in sight.
Churches must view themselves honestly. They must not be duped into thinking they are healthy when they are not. They must learn how to properly gauge health.