How do you measure the health of a church family? I’m not talking about medical health. I’m talking about our discipleship to Jesus. When it comes to our belief about and practice of discipleship to Jesus, are we healthy? I know Faith Church isn’t perfect. No church is perfect. Because of that we don’t want to assume that we are doing just fine. Instead we should strive to maintain a humble, teachable posture, welcoming evaluation of ourselves. As difficult as it can be to learn that we have a problem, we need to know if we have unhealthy discipleship in our church family. We do not want to shrug off potential issues as if they are no big deal. So again I ask, how do you measure the discipleship health of a church family?
Our Faith Church Vision Team is reading Reggie McNeal’s book Missional Renaissance, in which he argues that churches need to start using a new scorecard. For too long, McNeal says, churches have been focused on the metrics of “bigger is better.” In other words, if a church family is gaining more worship attenders who give more money so they can build ever larger buildings, that church was considered to be healthy. Another metric has been applied to smaller churches, and that is their ability to keep offering worship services week in and week out. If they are continuing to pay their bills and hold worship services, they were considered to be healthy. Whether big or small, worship attendance, buildings and budgets rarely give us an accurate diagnosis of discipleship health. So what measurements do give us a picture of our health as disciples of Jesus?
As we continue our sermon series through Colossians, Paul has written quite a bit about what a healthy church looks like. In chapter three he said that a healthy church focuses on things above, by removing the dirty clothes of the sinful nature, and putting on the clean clothes of new life in Christ. In the next section, he will teach us two practices that healthy church families make a consistent, intentional part of their lives, as they seek to be disciples of Jesus who put on those new clothes, focusing on things above. Check out Colossians 4:2-6 ahead of time, then I look forward to discussing it further with you on the blog next week.