If You’re Not Counting Numbers, How Do You Know Your Church Is Healthy? Here Are 23 Ways

Numbers may inform us, but they don’t define us.

6. The church goes into the neighborhood.

7. The congregation is getting younger, not older.

8. The front rows are as full as the back rows.

9. The bulletin isn’t just about internal events.

10. Guests feel special.

11. Volunteerism is high.

12. Ministry ideas bubble up.

13. New ideas are embraced.

14. New leadership is embraced.

15. Long-time leadership is honored.

16. The Bible is honored.

17. Worship is more than just singing.

18. People like bringing their friends.

19. Congregation members love each other.

20. Congregation members like each other.

21. People are being served and discipled.

22. It’s a safe place to ask hard questions.

23. People pray—a lot.

Not Exhaustive or Essential

Please note that this list is not designed to add pressures to an already overtaxed church leadership. It’s not a you-must-do-all-these-to-be-healthy list as much as a here-are-some-other-ways-to-look-at-health list.

While some elements (like #16) are essential for every healthy church, others are not. For example, if you’re in an aging neighborhood, doing #5 may mean you’re not doing #7.

While all of them are good, and some are essential, you’d be hard-pressed to find even a great, healthy church that’s doing all of them well.

So use this list as an encouragement and an aid, not a source of intimidation. Take note of what you’re doing well, strengthen the ones you should be doing better and use others as an idea list for the future.

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Karl Vaters
Karl Vaters is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. He’s been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California for over 20 years. He’s also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a blog that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors.