What does a healthy church look like?

Guest: Chuck Lawless

March 24, 2022

The “RevitalizeNC” podcast is hosted by Terry Long, church health and revitalization strategist with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Each episode features a leading expert in church revitalization to offer help, hope and encouragement to pastors and ministry leaders.

In this episode, Long welcomes Chuck Lawless, professor of evangelism and missions and dean of doctoral studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, for a conversation about characteristics that reflect church health. They discuss the importance of defining a vision and goals for becoming a healthy church, including a biblical commitment to teach God’s Word, worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, prayer, fellowship and an outward focus toward global missions.

Here is an excerpt from this podcast:

Long: Give us a few more Scriptures to study on what a healthy church is.

Lawless: I would look at the book of Acts, chapter 2, when we read about the churches committed to the Apostles’ doctrine, to the breaking of bread, to prayer — where they’re worshiping with awe and wonder. We see what happens in a church where God is working.

I would look at Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew’s expression of the Great Commission. You see it in Mark 16, you see it in Luke 24, you see it in John 20, you see it in Acts 1:8. Five times in the New Testament is a picture of Jesus giving this mandate to go to the nations. And so, those Great Commission passages ought to compel us to ask, “Are we that kind of church?”

I use the book of Ephesians — you can use several of Paul’s writings — but the book of Ephesians very clearly lays out a theological foundation in the first three chapters, and then it builds on that foundation with application in the last three chapters — that we live out our faith in our personal life, in our home, in our church and in our workplace. So as I look at that structure of what Paul does when he says understand your theology, but let your theology drive you to live the way that you’re supposed to live — that structure reminds me, as a church consultant, I do want to evaluate the theology of a church, and then I want to ask, if they get the theology right, what are they doing with that? Are they living it out?

Long: For those churches wanting to take the first step, what’s a couple things they can start doing?

Lawless: Here’s what you can’t do. You cannot, in two or three decisions, fix a church overnight. It’s just not going to happen. Typically when a church is in need of a revitalization, it’s not uncommon that they’ve had that need for some time. … Anyone who does the work of church revitalization has to be committed to the task. That means, “I am here for the duration. Because it is going to take us some time to turn this ship around, and I want to be a part of that.” So you, with persistence and patience, begin to look at where the church is and what steps you can take. Then I would say, look at the strongest parts of the church and ask, how can we build on those so that we maintain their strength and even make them stronger?

New episodes will be released every other month. For more information and details on how to subscribe, click here.

by BSCNC Communications

On death and dying, as it relates to churches

In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, wrote the classic book On Death and Dying. This work, chronicling lessons she learned with terminally ill patients, outlined the five stages that all people go through as they near death. Beginning when they are...

4 symptoms to watch for when assessing pastoral health

In preparation for this article I confess I did Google, “How to know if a pastor is healthy?” The number of articles, blogs and sites addressing the increasing issue of pastoral health did not disappoint. After all, we are hopefully coming out of the most difficult time of...

Fisher retires after 36 years at Caldwell Association

Dale Fisher received quite the surprise on his 70th birthday. Not only did ministry colleagues serenade him with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” during the N.C. Associational Missions Conference in early April, they also recognized Fisher for his long tenure of service in leading...

The power of a name: God’s faithfulness in mental health

If I have learned one lesson this year, it’s that there is power in a name. When we give our struggle a name, we are able to better distinguish truth from lie and work toward healing. Naming opens the door to freedom and sheds light on truth that can feel uncomfortable, exposing...

Scholarship to cover tuition for new Fruitland students

New students now have an opportunity to attend Fruitland Baptist Bible College tuition-free this fall. Fruitland recently announced a new scholarship that will cover tuition costs for new, full-time students attending the Hendersonville campus during the fall 2022 quarter. The...

Stay connected by signing up for our monthly newsletter and events email.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!