What congregational health looks like

Churches are most able to focus on worshiping God and embodying the love of Christ when they are healthy. But what does congregational health look like? Here are some of my thoughts.


  • Members trust lay and clergy leadership and vice versa. Mutual ministry is nearly impossible when trust is low.
  • There is a balance of stability and turnover in lay leadership. Leaders stay in their positions long enough to get good at them but not so long that they stagnate.
  • The leadership understands how the church’s size relates to its mission. The small church gets how its numbers allow it to be agile and responsive to the gifts and needs of the community.
  • New lay leaders are identified, mentored, and empowered. Without some sort of process for training and placing new leaders, the face of leadership stays the same indefinitely.
  • Leadership needs are revisited on a regular basis. The church assesses whether its structure is serving its mission well.


  • Everyone who has been attending for at least three months knows the church’s mission. The mission visibly shapes the life of the congregation.
  • That mission is primarily about engaging the community beyond the walls. A church that exists primarily for its own sake is not Christ-centered, nor is it built to last.
  • The membership claims the mission as its own. Church members know the mission and use it as a tool to evaluate existing ministries and to generate new ideas.
  • The congregation revisits its mission on a regular basis. The specific shape of call evolves, not just for individuals, but for whole communities.

Life together: 

  • People know how to disagree in healthy ways. The church values unity around decisions, even when there are varying opinions.
  • The congregation gathers at least occasionally purely for fellowship. Laughter and play enhance worship and service.
  • The different generations are invested in each other. Young and old teach and learn from one another.
  • The church has clear processes and lines of communications in place. Everyone knows how to share ideas and address concerns.
  • The congregation stewards its resources well – including its people resources. It neither holds them too tightly nor spends them too easily.


  • Everyone is growing in discipleship. People ages 0-99+ are actively learning about God’s love and what it means for their lives.
  • People follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit instead of their own desires. There is an emphasis on true discernment: “not my will but thine be done.”
  • Worship is part of everything the church does. At lock-ins and committee meetings people name God’s presence and greatness and call upon God’s power.

What would you add to or remove from this list? What are some specific ways you help your congregation attain health?

Creative Commons image “Pulse oximeter” by Quinn Dombrowski is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.





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