Christianity 201

February 19, 2012

Church Year in Review

The church annual business meeting is a both longstanding tradition, and requirement

Over the next few weeks, several churches in my part of the world are holding their annual meeting.  Though required by law, it’s also a good opportunity for churches to step back and see the ‘big picture’ of church life, consider what God is doing through their efforts, thank God for His provision and look forward to the future.

The danger of course is to reduce meetings like this to statistics; to pie-chart and bar-graph church life to extremes. I doubt the first century church did this kind of record-keeping, and the Apostle Paul — who had a great mind when it came to understanding justification and atonement — was somewhat fuzzy on if or when he had baptized people.

Ohio pastor Paul Clark at the blog Vision Meets Reality doesn’t post very often, but back in December he linked to his church’s annual report which begins with 13 measures of a healthy church:

1. People are coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
2. Our missions program is expanding locally, nationally and globally.
3. People are making public professions of faith through baptism.
4. Attendance in worship services is increasing.
5. The worship experience is vibrant, enthusiastic and intergenerational.
6. There is broad participation in serving throughout the ministries.
7. New ministries are beginning as God imparts vision.
8. Guests are being connected to church life.
9. Covenant membership is increasing.
10. Our budgetary needs are being met.
11. Leaders are being developed and placed in ministry roles.
12. Scripture is central to our message.
13. Staff relationships are healthy.

That’s the kind of church I want to be a part of; though I think the eleven hour round trip would take its toll after a few Sundays. Although he pastors a larger church, I believe these goals are viable at some level for churches of all shapes and sizes.

What else does a healthy church look like?  Here’s how The Message translates two familiar passages:

Acts 2:38-39Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”

 40He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!”

 41-42That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up. They committed themselves to the teaching of the apostles, the life together, the common meal, and the prayers.

 43-45Everyone around was in awe—all those wonders and signs done through the apostles! And all the believers lived in a wonderful harmony, holding everything in common. They sold whatever they owned and pooled their resources so that each person’s need was met.

 46-47They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God. People in general liked what they saw. Every day their number grew as God added those who were saved.

Acts 4:31While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence.

 32-33The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn’t even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, “That’s mine; you can’t have it.” They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.

 34-35And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person’s need.

2 Comments »

  1. Thanks for sharing…A real blessing Darrell

    Comment by darrellcreswell — February 20, 2012 @ 10:51 am | Reply

  2. […] reading through a blog tonight (Christianity 201) by a friend of mine, and in a post the other day (Church Year in Review) he quoted from a blog by a pastor in Ohio.  In the blog entry, entitled “Some Vital […]

    Pingback by 13 Measures of a Healthy Church | Murray's Musings — February 22, 2012 @ 10:47 pm | Reply


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