SIDBAR: LDR Church Health Assessment Summary of Characteristics/Qualities
by Steven R. Mills
The human body has systems that must function right and be in balance for the body to be healthy. The church, too, has systems that determine the health and effectiveness of the church. In the same way we go to the doctor for an annual physical, it is helpful for the leadership and church to periodically assess health of the congregation.
Several church health assessments are available that a church can use. The most common and most widely researched is the Natural Church Development Church Health Survey. It measures eight characteristics of a healthy church.
The LDR Church Health Assessment is another church health assessment designed to evaluate 10 characteristics. Five characteristics relate directly to five biblical purposes or functions of the church. Five characteristics relate to church life. Each of the characteristics measures the key systems of the church.
Revitalizing worship: Do people feel inspired and encouraged? Is the music celebrative and God-centered? Is the preaching life changing? Are people tithing and engaged as good stewards? Is the congregation welcoming and friendly to visitors? Is the church’s ministry to children safe and helping them to grow spiritually?
Effective evangelism: Does the church have intentional and effective outreach strategies? Do people have a contagious faith, and are they personally engaged in building relationships and sharing their faith with spiritual seekers? Does the church have a keen awareness to those far from God? Does the church effectively nurture and assimilate new Christians.?
Intentional disciplemaking: Does the church have intentional strategies and opportunities for all ages and stages of life to grow in their faith? Is the spiritual-development process clearly communicated, and do you expect spiritual development? Are people regularly involved in spiritual formation processes? Is there multiplication of disciples, leaders, and groups?
Authentic community: Are people actively involved in meaningful relationships and groups? Do people feel the church is meeting felt needs? Is there a culture of transparency, trust, interdependence, and joy? Are the groups and relationships spiritually oriented, relevant to daily life, and sensitive to guests? Is there an environment of affirmation, encouragement, and intentional conflict resolution?
Gift-oriented ministry: Does the church help people identify, develop, and use gifts and abilities in task-appropriate ways? Are people trained, coached, supported, and challenged in their service? Does the church have an intentional ministry mobilizing system? Does the church have a high percentage of people involved in ministry? Do people feel their service is significant?
Mission-driven organization: Does the church have a clearly defined biblical mission statement? Is the mission clearly understood and embraced with conviction among leaders and members? Do vision, goals, and planning permeate the church and ministries? Does leadership lead with vision? Do we regularly evaluate ministry by mission?
Empowering leadership: Does leadership of the pastor match the congregation? Does the church have a leadership pipeline that includes mentoring and equipping? Does leadership share and delegate ministry and do people feel empowered? Does leadership effectively lead and navigate change?
Functional structures: Are the organizational structures and systems appropriate and effective? Are staffing and ministries based on mission? Is there a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities? Is there creativity and management of change?
Culturally relevant: Do the ministries of the church meet real and felt human need? Does the church communicate biblical truth in culturally relevant ways? Is the church engaged in understanding and communicating with the unchurched effectively? Do the church and members demonstrate love, justice, compassion, and mercy to the unchurched? Is the reputation of the church in the community known and positive? Do spiritual seekers feel that the church is their friend?
Passionate spirituality: Do the church and members live a life that honors God? Do the church and members actively engage in life-changing spiritual disciplines? Does the church have a positive influence in the community? Do people practice personal and corporate stewardship? Is the church actively demonstrating compassion?
We recommend that a church use the same assessment for at least 3 years in a row. This will make the results more meaningful.