As we plant and assist churches, our goal is healthy ministries. Healthy churches are able to stand on their own without continued mission assistance. But what are the indicators of a healthy church?
A healthy local church is doctrinally sound and Christ-centered. Solid, consistent and systematic Bible teaching is necessary both to lay and to maintain a foundation that will enable the church to be a voice for truth and a base for effective ministry.
A healthy church will have a well defined purpose and vision that is in accord with Christ’s directive to evangelize and make disciples beginning at home and reaching to the whole world.
A healthy church will have a solid core- group of committed members and regular, faithful attendees, people who can be depended upon to use their gifts to serve Christ and others, and are unified in purpose and direction. The mere number of people who attend any given service does not validate the health of a church.
Qualified leadership is a vital component of a healthy church. When godly, spiritually minded, doctrinally sound, mature leaders are trained and in place the church is well on its way to being on its own.
A healthy church will have a concise doctrinal statement, a well thought out constitution and by-laws, and tested and workable methods of ministry. Its members need to know how to function within the framework of the organizational structure, to have the experience of seeing people work together to be effective in ministry.
Financial ability is imperative, but it is not, as is sometimes assumed, the sole indicator that a church is ready to be on its own. The church does need to realistically consider whether they are able to adequately provide for their pastor, as well as meet normal financial obligations. In doing this they need to determine the stability of their financial income. What are the sources? Is it consistent? Will it continue?
Because there are many intangible factors that contribute to the health of a church, we do not immediately withdraw from our nurturing role when all the preceding things are in place. To make sure of its health in all essential areas, we encourage the church to continue as a mission work for at least another year.
To encourage long term stability, we urge the church to join the fellowship of IFCA International and to pursue an unofficial partnership with Northwest Independent Church Extension to assist in establishing healthy churches in other areas of need.
Northwest Independent Church Extension Planting and Establishing Churches since 1958