The Health Vs. Growth Continuum

I thought that each week, I would present a snippet of what will be included in the book I am working on, “Hurdling Barriers” that looks at overcoming the barriers to church health and growth. This excerpt is from the introduction.

. . . from what I have observed, churches often lose their way because they, for a variety of reasons, pursue the wrong priorities. In many cases their relentless pursuit of numbers in pews has caused them to forget the most important of priorities relating to church health. If a church is not healthy, it can never produce healthy growth. However, while we would anticipate that healthy churches would normally grow and unhealthy churches would not. . . . This is not always the case as you will see in the “Church Health vs. Growth Continuum.”

To understand this paradox, let me explain the four quadrants.

Quadrant I, Healthy and Growing Church – . . . Healthy growing churches have overcome the major obstacles to church health. . . .Under normal conditions these healthy churches will grow.

Quadrant II, Healthy and Declining Church – . . . Sometimes a situation such as the shutdown of a major industry or other community change could lead to decline in a church. . . . Yet, often churches have health issues without even knowing it. . . . Considering themselves to be healthy, they have some barriers to hurdle but do not know it. Therefore, any church that is experiencing decline should get a health checkup. . .

Quadrant III, Unhealthy and Declining Church – We would expect an unhealthy church to plateau and decline in size. . . . Many churches that think they are in Quadrant II are really in Quadrant III. . . . Every declining church needs a health checkup.

Quadrant IV, Unhealthy and Growing Church – Yes it is possible for an unhealthy church to grow. When they do, their growth will also be unhealthy. . . . An unhealthy church in a booming community could experience some growth. . . . One of the most dangerous of all barriers to church health the perversion of sound doctrine. Many churches that twist doctrine to tickle the itching ear experience growth, but it will be unhealthy growth. . . . The growing church is one that is very much open to spiritual attack, and therefore needs to do a health checkup. . . .

. . . the good news is this. In most cases, the healthier the church gets, the more likely it will grow spiritually and numerically. If for a variety of reasons, it does not grow but has endeavored to hurdle the barriers to church health, it should rejoice because the church is demonstrating the right heart, a heart for God. . .

Each week hereafter, I will highlight one chapter of the book which will present one barrier that churches need to hurdle to become healthy.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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