Do all healthy things grow? Yes.
Do all healthy churches become big churches? No.
But many of us have been ministering under that false assumption. We've been told there’s one set of ingredients. Use them to become a healthy church and it will inevitably become a big church.
The truth is, there’s not just one list of ingredients.
There are two lists.
One for a healthy church, one for a big church.
And the lists don’t overlap.
Thankfully, they're not mutually exclusive, either. A church can be both big and healthy – or small and healthy.
Let’s take a look at both lists.
List 1: Ingredients for a Healthy Church
There are two ingredients needed for a great, healthy church. We see them in the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
- Love and worship Jesus.
- Love, serve and make disciples of others.
That’s it. One list with two simple items.
If you're doing the Great Commandment and Great Commission you have a great church. No matter the size, the denomination, or the liturgy.
We can even break them into bite-size pieces. The most common way of doing that is using the five elements of Worship, Ministry, Discipleship, Evangelism and Fellowship. Loving Jesus and loving others is what those five are all about.
But won’t a healthy church grow? Of course. But not all growth is numerical.
Healthy peas and healthy pumpkins grow to different sizes for different purposes. So do different churches.
Sometimes church growth means a bigger pumpkin. Most of the time it means more peas.
List 2: Ingredients for a Big Church
When it comes to building a big church, there’s another list of ingredients. And it’s a long one, with more being added as a church gets bigger.
For a megachurch, it’s a really long list. Here are just a few of those ingredients:
- Lots of people
- Lots of money
- Lots of land
- A large facility (or network of facilities)
- Years of hard work and sacrifice
- A government that hasn’t outlawed the church
- A culture that doesn’t persecute Christians
- A large base of wealthy, generous Christians
- The ability to hire, pay and coordinate architects, designers and contractors
- A cooperative city government
- Lack of opposition from neighbors
- A long-term pastorate
- Highly complex administrative and delegation skills