I've been getting some schooling from life the last few days on this very subject! But it's more like, Doom and Despair - How church doesn't work very well. As I said Sunday, churches are organisms - living breathing things. (Don't read to much into that.) The point is that Paul calls us the body of Christ. All of us have had the cold or flu at some time. To say that churches haven't had their periods of sickness is also applicable. The question here isn't, how healthy is the church? The question is, how is the churches immune system? We all know perfectly healthy people who have come down with a bug or something worse. It is assumed that if everything is working well on the outside that everything is working well on the inside. Nothing is farther from the truth - ask any doctor. So how do you check up a church?
Part 1 - What is it's temperature. I'm not saying that you should check and see if everyone in the church is breathing and has a temp of 98.6 degrees. (Even though I've preached in a few churches that would have challenged that litmus test.) But what is the spiritual temperature of the church?
- Praise and Worship - Is it exciting? Does it lead people to Jesus? Can people experience God through corporate worship? Are they worshipping God through their daily lives? Do they worship God the way He wants to be worshipped?
- Preaching and Teaching - Does it address everyday life? Does it cause you to think and challenge yourself to change? Does God speak to your heart, through the Holy Spirit, to the truths that are being brought forward? Is it based in the Word of God? Is it being communicated to most people in a way that they can understand it?
- Spiritual Life - What is the overall prayer life of the church? Do some people fast and pray? Is a good portion of the church tither's and supporters of the church? Do people volunteer to do ministry service? Is the Word of God the final authority and rule of everyday life? Is the church a strong community of believers who care for and about each other, even when it isn't convenient?
You might say that some of these things don't seem to be very, "spiritual". That's true. But I guarantee you that each of them cause the tempter of the church to rise to a healthy level. A level where the "disease" of sin, temptation and attacks from the enemy would come and destroy normal church life.