Welcome back to our discussion on “What to look for in a HEALTHY Church. In Part 1 we looked at the importance of finding a Church which values the Word of God and has doctrine with Scriptural Integrity. Today we’ll be discussing the importance of finding a Church that values the Gospel and is committed to reaching out to non-believers with it!
As I explained in a previous post, we’re making use of Joshua Harris’ book, “Why Church Matters” and looking at factors he believes are integral to finding a healthy Church. As comments roll in we hope to expand on these and do a couple of posts on some of the non-negotiables you guys are sharing in the comments.
Is the Gospel proclaimed?
This may sound like a no-brainer because when we think Christian Church, surely that should be synonymous with the Gospel? But in a postmodern culture we often find Churches tailoring their messages to whatever Self-Help situation society may find themselves in at that moment and “saving” Gospel messages for special occassions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for relevant, contextual and practical preaching, but like I said in the previous post, our message should be formed around Scripture and not the other way around. If a Church is not sharing the truth of the Gospel, being that we are all in need of a Saviour, that grace is what saves us, and not our works and that works are merely a natural response to the love and grace shown to us and not the means of our salvation, then I would recommend finding a Church that teaches this, preaches this, and resonates with this message. Charles Spurgeon put it as follows:
“Do not go where it is all fine music and grand talk and beautiful architecture; those things will neither fill anybody’s stomach, nor feed his soul. Go where the Gospel is preached, the Gospel that really feeds your soul, and go often.”[Click to Tweet This!]
In Matthew 28 every believer is commissioned to go out and make disciples, specifically: “18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”” Matthew 28:18-20.
When we stop caring about those beyond our walls we become an ineffectual Church living apart from God’s will for us. [Click to Tweet This!]
Too many Churches have become comfortable at tending to the people within the community and neglecting the mission that we have been given. When we stop caring about those beyond our walls we become an ineffectual Church living apart from God’s will for us. We have Good News, yes that salvation is ours in Christ Jesus, but more than that we have the Good News that says to the destitute, lonely and forsaken, “Our God restores, and loves, and heals… and His heart is for you.” In Acts, the community existed to care for those who were in need, to the point of giving what was theirs to ensure that those who were in need were cared for. Yes, times have changed, and the practicalities of these things in crime ridden society may make it difficult to do, but that does not mean we can stop doing it.
“Without an emphasis on mission, a church becomes selfish and ingrown” Joshua Harris [Click to Tweet This]
If a Church has no emphasis on non-believers, or those beyond its walls, then think carefully about whether this Church is the place for you, or whether God is calling you to help start something which will spark a heart for sharing the Gospel and the love of Jesus with those who need it. We have Good News, we should be spreading it!
Bless you all in your desire to either help your Church become more healthy or in finding a great group of believers you can journey with. Please drop me a comment below and subscribe to my newsletter if you want regular updates (on the top left of this page).