So how can a church be spiritually robust? What discipline, what routine, of spiritual growth must a church follow to facilitate good health? Clearly, the vital elements that must exist in a local church in order for that church to be considered healthy must produce God’s desired results in his people (Philippians 1:11). Essentially then, a healthy church is one that eats well, exercises regularly, breathes deeply, thinks sharply, loves intensely, and ultimately, runs all out for God.
A HEALTHY CHURCH EATS WELL
A healthy church eats a steady diet of spiritual nourishment. A healthy church has a passionate appetite for God’s Word. His Word may not always sit well with our weak stomachs, for God is holy (Ezekiel 3:3; Revelations 10:9). But God’s Word is always sweet to the taste. For in the pages of Scripture is found the sustenance of our souls (Psalm 119:103; 34:8).
Jesus is the master chef of a church’s menu. A church is enabled to grow strong and healthy by first craving spiritual milk, suckling God’s provision and savoring his promises (1 Peter 2:2-3). Maturity of faith is then developed as the meals become more solid (Hebrews 5:12-14). That’s why a healthy church learns to chew on his parables, devour his message, dessert on his abundance and digest his commission. And a the healthy church grows in maturity so grows the ability to better understand and engage the world.
Ultimately, eating God’s Word invites people to experience God’s intentions for his creatures. Eating God’s Word enables communion with Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:26). Eating God’s Word provides salvation from death and gives eternal, prevailing life (Revelations 2:7). A healthy church isn’t satisfied with the results of eating potato chips on the couch. A healthy church eats well so that it will be ready to respond in action for Jesus.
This is the second part of a series of posts exploring the essential elements that must exist in order for a church to be considered healthy. This material stems from an assignment I completed for my most recent course at ACTS: “Developing a Healthy Church.”