Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Label #7: HEALTHY

Back to my "labels" series... by the way, if you search the word labels you can probably pull all the posts up on this series. Now we've come to the label "healthy" as in healthy Christian or healthy church member or healthy church. What is a healthy church? OK, well I doubt any pastor or congregation would say, "Nah, we don't want to be a healthy church." It sounds like an ambiguous adjective but I mean it in a more proper noun sense.

The guys over at 9 Marks have helped defined some characteristics of a healthy church. They do not mean to provide an exhaustive list but point out some things that are noticeably absent from many local churches who as a result are unhealthy. Mainly a local church is not healthy when they are not faithful to the New Testament teachings regarding the church.

The "nine marks of a healthy church" are 1) Biblical (expository) Preaching; 2) Commitment to teaching Biblical theology; 3) A Biblical view and faithful proclamation of the Gospel; 4) A Biblical understanding of conversion; 5) A Biblical understanding and practice of evangelism; 6) A Biblical understanding and practice of church membership; 7) A Biblical understanding and practice of church discipline; 8) A Biblical understanding and practice of discipleship (I'd add, healthy churches contain disciples who make disciples.); and 9) A Biblical understanding of church leadership... namely two Biblical offices, elder and deacon.

I'd add that a healthy church is a congregation committed to prayer, a congregation committed to each other, and a congregation committed to global missions. You might add some characteristics but you get the point. Healthy churches are churches that recognize the Bible as the rule of faith, order, and life practice without compromise. Healthy Christians or healthy church members are those who live out these qualities in their local church and help to see their church to be rightly labeled as a healthy church.

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