"....so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:12b-13
I have a passionate love for healthy local churches because I believe they are the hope of the world. God's plan to evangelize the world and make disciples is impossible apart from healthy local churches.
I am the product of such a church. I have been privileged to serve in several healthy churches and witnessed the transforming power that resides there.
When I think about local churches I think of the tale about the little girl who had the curl in the middle of her forehead who, when she was good was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid.
That has been my experience with local churches. When they are healthy and well led they can be very very good, but when they are unhealthy they can be horrid.
So, what does a healthy local church look like?
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." Ephesians 4:11-16
For the next few posts I want to talk about the dynamics of a healthy church and cast a vision for such a church. These thoughts are taken from one who also had a consuming passion for the Church. He gave his life to the Church and for it. It was his ministry and vision that brought the church to the European Continent. This passionate apostle was the founder of this very church at Ephesus to which he writes this letter.
A healthy church has to be surrendered to Jesus and committed to serving Him because the Church is all about Him. He is the Lord of the Church.
You would think that goes without saying. The New Testament is crystal clear about who is the Lord, the life and the love of the Church. An yet, so many local churches end up lifeless and loveless. How can that be?
Take a few minutes to read and meditate on Ephesians 4:11-16. Think about how your church stacks up against Paul's description of a healthy church. One of the ways you try to protect your health is by having regular check ups. When was the last time your church had a check up?