Some marks of a spiritually healthy church

by | 15 Mar 2024 | 0 comments

Some marks of a spiritually healthy church

by | 15 Mar 2024 | 0 comments

Some marks of a spiritually healthy church

No church (including those in the New Testament) has ever been 100% spiritually healthy. But it’s good to want our churches to be as spiritually healthy as possible.

Here’s seven indicators to think about.

A healthy church…

1. worships God in spirit and in truth, and keeps Jesus at the centre

We are called to truly honour and worship God, in a spirit of humility, faith and adoration (John 4:23-24, Psalm 96:9). In worship, it is ultimately not things like worship style, instruments, vocalists, liturgy or tradition that really matter, but our heart before God. We need to keep the central focus on Jesus: Son of God, Light of the world, crucified Saviour, Risen Lord, and coming King. No matter how excellent our church, pastor, programmes, music, building, or whatever – all these must be secondary to the Lord himself.

2. preaches the genuine biblical Gospel

A healthy church preaches human sinfulness before God, God’s wonderful grace, that Christ died for our sins, that we must turn to him in faith, and that we must be born of the Spirit and follow Jesus as Lord.

A healthy church does not preach a pseudo gospel: that everyone is good, or that because God is loving everyone will ultimately be saved, or that there are many roads to God, or that salvation comes from being a caring person, or that salvation comes from religious observance, or that salvation does not need repentance.

3. teaches soundly and carefully from the Word of God

A healthy church treasures the Bible as the inspired and authoritative Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16), and interprets it humbly and carefully, and with good understanding and application (2 Tim. 2:15). Its teaching makes sense, and neither distorts nor waters down the Word of God (2 Tim. 4:1-4). Its teaching feeds the soul, challenges and strengthens, helps people know God and become more Christ-like. It helps people read and study the scriptures for themselves.

A healthy church doesn’t mix Bible truth with earthly thinking, or lead astray (Acts 20:30). It doesn’t see the Bible as just a spiritual source book, or as a launching pad for our own ideas, or as something able to be interpreted however we wish.

4. has good fellowship and unity

A healthy church is welcoming and hospitable, and it cares for people. It treats everyone well, and practises forgiveness and mercy (e.g. Acts 4:34-35, Rom. 12:4-21). It guards its spiritual unity (Eph. 4:3). A disharmonious, fighting church (1 Cor. 1:10) is a disgrace, and does much damage.

5. is a constantly praying church, and looks for God to move in power by his Holy Spirit

The church is called to “pray constantly” (1 Thess. 5 17) and to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Eph. 6:18). Where the church really means what it prays, prayer is powerful, and God changes hearts and grows his church. Acts 4:31: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly”. Where a church only prays in a minimalist or perfunctory way, it may only limp along.

6. reaches out to the world, in word and action

A healthy church takes seriously the call to reach the world with God’s grace and salvation in Jesus (Matt.28:19-20). It actively connects with the world: with love, with serving, and with the Gospel. It encourages its people to share Jesus with others, in the power of the Holy Spirit. It sees conversions, baptisms, and changed lives. A church where the people are unable or unmotivated to share the Gospel stagnates.

7. grows in numbers

“…the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” (Acts 16:5). Church growth is not an end in itself, there are many internal or external factors that may impede numerical growth, and it is not easy to reverse an established decline. But growth is something we may pray and work for: A growing church often includes many new believers, children, and young people.


  • How spiritually healthy is your own church fellowship?
  • Whose responsibility is it to make the church spiritually healthy? The church’s leadership, or its people?

Wise and Godly church leadership can make a lot of difference. But surely the church’s spiritual health reflects the spiritual health of both leaders and people.

All church leaders are accountable to God for what they do or do not do. But so is every Christian. No church can rise above the level of faith, prayerfulness, Christ-likeness, and commitment of its average member. For our church to become more spiritually healthy, perhaps it starts with us!

Dr Stuart Lange
Author: Dr Stuart Lange

Dr Stuart Lange is the National Director of the NZCN and is a Senior Research Fellow at Laidlaw College, where he was formerly Vice Principal. Stuart wrote and presented the historical DVD documentary Te Rongopai: 200 years of the Gospel in New Zealand, 1814-2014.

Previous & Next Articles


Submit a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Become a member and join the conversation

Keep up to date with NZCN News

Keep up to date with NZCN News

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team

You have Successfully Subscribed!