This post is the first in a series on assessing church health, which looks at different aspects of church assessment. You can find links to the rest of the series at the end of this article. Healthy churches are essential. So how do we determine if a church is healthy or not? Asking questions is important, but knowing the right church assessment questions to ask when assessing church health is challenging. That’s why I developed a church health assessment tool. You can read about how this process came about here.
It has been said that there is a difference between measuring what you value, and valuing what you measure. Because of the variety and breadth of what comprises a healthy church, assessing church health isn’t a simple or quick process. It takes time, depth and inquiry. The first step in increasing church health is correctly assessing where it is currently. We must answer the key question ‘how is the church really doing?’
How Do You Assess Church Health?
Taking the time to ask the right questions ensures that the start of the journey towards increased health is from a good place. If we don’t begin with the right steps, we can miss out on pivotal information essential to accurately understand our present standing.
Assessment and review through a church health assessment tool are powerful actions that allow leaders to measure progress – or discover the lack of it. By taking the time to see how successful different aspects of our work are, we can see what is successful, and what isn’t. Individual areas can be brought into focus and be either a source of encouragement or show an issue that needs addressing.
The Benefits of Assessing Church Health
Using a church health assessment tool can be an intimidating thing; we may be forced to face up to reality, and the findings might ask some demanding questions not only of the ministry but of ourselves! Yet growth and improvement only come when we take stock of how things really are. But if we fail to review, we fail to improve – and we will miss out on opportunities for growth.
Another strength of a robust review process is that other opinions and perspectives can say, or see, the things we can’t or won’t. A quality review must be conducted engaging with the different perspectives and insights you can access within a team, or by using an outside consultant. Only then will clear steps to take be unveiled that can move the church to a new level.
Healthy Perspectives When Assessing Church Health
A good church health assessment tool must consider, but not be dominated by, three perspectives:
Firstly, past history – what has gone before? Yet, an assessment coloured by the past will either be nostalgic for or dismissive of history.
Secondly, present challenges – what are dominant issues today? But if the present is the focus, fear or disillusionment flavours the process.
Thirdly, future trajectory – what are the hopes for tomorrow? Yet if the assessment is dominated by future hopes, then the very real past and present issues are overlooked or ignored out of naivety.
These church assessment questions are essential to gather an accurate picture of reality.
Outcomes From Assessing Church Health
Failure to thoroughly or consistently review aspects of the church will have a negative impact on the church in multiple ways. In contrast, when a church embraces an intentional review process there are a number of benefits. An intentional, thorough and balanced assessment:
- Provides key information that can be catalytic for the growth of the church.
- Ensures the church is organisationally aligned with its apostolic mission.
- Analyses cultural growth to ensure it is spiritually vibrant and healthy.
- Identifies the impact of church growth engines, showing whether they are causing or capping health.
First Steps In Assessing Church Health
Some good questions to ask as you consider your church health, and the assessment process used in your church, is:
- What, if any, church health assessment tool do you use or have access to?
- Does your assessment process actually assess your current reality?
- Does it ask hard questions in enough detail to find out the standing of things today? Or does it simply assume whatever the leaders think the reality is?
- Is it a process? Does it take time to ask the right questions, of the right people, at the right times?
- Does it lead to a clear commitment to take the findings seriously and act on them?
If you didn’t already, I hope you can now see the importance of assessing church health.
Other posts in this series looking at Assessing Church Health are:
- Why Assessing Church Health Is Important
- Why Numbers Matter When Assessing Church Health
- Assessing Five Key Areas of Organisational Health
- Assessing Five Key Areas of Spiritual Health
- Assessing Five Key Areas of Leadership Health
- Assessing Five Key Growth Metrics & Trends
I have developed some FREE church health assessments for leaders. To find out more about them, click here.