For the last decade our denomination has given increasing attention and resources to the revitalization of its existing churches. To that end, through years of research and prayer, the department of church vitality has identified ten areas that are helpful metrics in the journey of becoming a healthy missional church. From the Department of Congregational vitality:
It is hard to measure spirituality. Some say it is even unwise to do so. Yet when we look at the New Testament, the disciples are coaching churches forward. They are using a frame of reference of what a vital congregation looks like.
Jesus himself is speaking to the churches in Revelation (chapters 2 and 3) about their own strengths and weaknesses. One of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to guide churches into telling the truth about themselves, not just telling the truth about Jesus. In the Bible, evaluation is normal and natural.
Although there is no perfect list that describes a healthy missional church, we in the Covenant are using the ten healthy missional markers. By “healthy” we mean pursuing Christ. By “missional” we mean pursuing Christ’s priorities in the world.
- Centrality of the Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16) We believe that the Bible is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine and conduct. Our preaching and teaching in all settings reflects careful preparation, relevance, and creativity. Our people are equipped and growing in their ability to study and apply Biblical truth in ways that lead to a scripturally integrated life.
- Life transforming walk with Jesus (John 3:3,30; Phil. 1:6) We teach our people how to be attentive to Christ in all circumstances. Our people understand the radical nature of the message and mission of Jesus that continually deconstructs and reconstructs a person’s life. Our people are equipped and growing in their ability to use a variety of spiritual growth resources, experiences, and settings.
- Intentional evangelism (Matthew 28:18-20) We are burdened for the spiritual condition of those who do not yet know Christ. We have identifiable pathways for evangelism to take place in our ministries. Our people are equipped and growing in their ability to build spiritual friendships and know how to share their faith as God-birthed opportunities arise.
- Transforming communities through active compassion, mercy and justice ministries (Micah 6:8) We are burdened for the hurting people in our community and beyond. We have identifiable pathways for compassion, mercy and justice ministries to take place. Our people are equipped and growing in their ability to see and address the hurts and the causes of hurt in our community and beyond.
- Global perspective and engagement (Acts 1:8) We raise the sights of our members beyond our congregation and community by developing a Biblical worldview and often pray for and reference global matters. We have identifiable pathways to support the cause of Christ globally. Our people are equipped and growing in their ability to participate in the global dimensions of our ministry.
- Compelling Christian community (Acts 2:42-47) We understand that our love for one another is a powerful testimony to the deity of Jesus. We love each other as we are, not as we should be. We share life together beyond the worship service.
- Heartfelt worship (Psalm 138:1a; John 4:23) We exalt and celebrate God for who he is, what he has done, what he is doing and what he will do. Worship reflects careful preparation to help give voice to many dimensions of response to God such as adoration, praise, contrition, lament, and commitment. People leave worship knowing something more about the heart of God and about their own hearts.
- Sacrificial and generous living and giving (Romans 12:1-8) We help people discover, develop and deploy their spiritual gifts. We regularly, graciously, and unapologetically teach on the importance of financial stewardship in the spiritual growth of the Christian. We have many examples of lifestyle choices being made on the basis of stewardship and the priority God plays in the lives of our members.
- Culture of godly leadership (Hebrews 13:7) Our leaders at all levels serve with character, competence, and conviction. A spirit of collegiality pervades, with our people trusting our leaders and our leaders trusting our people. We continually identify and train godly leaders for all dimensions of our ministry.
- Fruitful organizational structures (Exodus 18:13-26, Acts 6:1-7) We can articulate a compelling, Christ-honoring vision for our church. We embrace evaluation as normal and natural and work through conflict constructively. Our organizational structures are designed to be efficient at making decisions while at the same time building congregational ownership for those decisions.