9 Marks of a healthy church


I came across a blog today called 9 Marks.  They list what they feel are the nine marks of a healthy church.

  • Preaching
  • Biblical theology
  • The gospel
  • Conversion
  • Evangelism
  • Membership
  • Discipline
  • Discipleship
  • Leadership

If were to make a list off the top of my head I think it would be different

  • Jesus
  • Divinely empowered sacrificial love
  • Proclamation of the gospel
  • Mutual submission
  • Spiritually gifted mutual ministry
  • Biblical teaching and practice
  • Leadership through example and service
  • Discipleship
  • Care for the poor, the marginalized and oppressed

I don’t really know how one could skip Jesus.  Could be my anabaptism kicking in but Jesus needs to the center of church life.  Preaching isn’t in my list at all, although proclamation of the gospel is.  There is no biblical evidence that contemporary preaching should be the center of church life.  Oddly enough I don’t consider “proclamation” to be my equivalent for preaching.  My equivalent is love.  Love is the best bridge in which we communicate the gospel, not homiletics. 

Biblical theology is good, but I like biblical teaching and practice.   Good theology isn’t an end in itself, just a means to become better disciples.

I axed membership as it is the most institutional and often one of the most meaningless gestures in church life.  I prefer mutual submission and ministry.  We submit to one another and we minister to one another.

Leadership is broad enough it could overlap but i felt the need to define it further.  Vision casting is often an exercise in PR and marketing.  In most instances it doesn’t result in any significant new direction.  As a church leader I see my tools as service, love and being an example.  I have little need to cast a vision because my vision is already set out for me.  I facilitate the ministry of the people of the church and equip those God brings to me. 

Discipleship is good.

I had James’ words about widows and orphans rolling around my head so I didn’t think I could neglect our generation’s version.

I see most discipline handled in the context of mutual submission in loving relationships. 

After years in a house church I’ve observed my whole orientation and my understanding of church has been transformed.

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