What makes a church successful? There are many answers in the world today. Some view a successful church as a large church but that is a very simplistic measurement. Being popular and crowd-pleasing does not necessarily equal success. What about salvations as a measure of success? We are getting closer to God’s heart with this answer but it still falls short. It is wonderful to see people saved from darkness but too often, we see churches full of spiritually immature Christians eager to tell you of that great day 35 years ago when they accepted Jesus. Ask them for what other fruit their lives produces that reflects their spiritual walk and they stare at you blankly and mumble something about what a great service it was last week. Today, I would like to look at seven key elements that will transform an average lukewarm church into the on-fire church God so desires.
1. The members need have a strong Biblical worldview. This goes beyond Christian bumper stickers and church attendance. What does a Christian do when faced with the anti-God views of evolutionists in schools? Do they speak up for Christ in the workplace? If someone asks them why they believe in Jesus, can they clearly articulate (with the Spirit’s help) their reasons? Christians need to tackle life’s hard questions head on. To do this effectively, they need…
2. Strong Bible teaching and preaching coupled with outside-of-church personal Bible study and prayer. The Bible should be the guidebook for our lives. Any teaching that does not line up with God’s standards must be disposed of, period. The Church doesn’t bow at the altar of popular culture; instead we are to hear the Word preached strong and use it to transform culture. But to go a step further, Bible study outside of church must happen to where if the Christian was separated from their church, they would still function. Also, prayer must play a vital part of everyday life.
3. A commitment to serving the local community. The church must not neglect those around it. It must see what is going on and respond. It has a duty to care for the hungry, the outcast, and the broken. This how the love of Jesus becomes real to the lost; they see through our love the love of a Father that can meet them where they are and transform them.
4. A commitment to the global Great Commission. We must hear the cries of those all over the world longing for a Savior. We must foster a culture that encourages listening to God’s voice and obeying His call, no matter where it may take us. God has His children all across the globe and we must take part.
5. A reliance on the Holy Spirit. We cannot do all of this in our own strength. He will lead us and guide us in His power to reach in and reach out. He is waiting for us to tap into the supernatural power of the Spirit to heal, deliver, and transform lives. We need to give him full control to do the things only He can do. It does not matter if they haven’t been done a certain way before; God is doing many new things that are solidly rooted in His Word but require a step of faith.
6. A holistic view of the Church as the Bride of Christ. We can no longer let denominational divides keep us from full effectiveness. While I do not necessarily advocate the abolition of denominations (each has particular strengths), the mixed message we send to the world is unmistakable: we love our brother as long as they do everything just like us. However, when they sing a song we don’t like the tune to, we openly criticize them and portray ourselves as “the true faith”, whether we use the term or not. We can’t go on like this.
7. And finally, we need each area of the Church to be on the same page. The missions department is not more important or less important than the children’s ministry or the senior adult group. We are all on the same team working toward the same vision. In my next blog, I want to explore this point a little deeper. Are the ministries of our churches allies or competitors?
Together, I believe we can turn church as usual into the Church triumphant and glorious.