Annual health screenings are vital to maintaining good health. Regular oil changes are necessary to keep a vehicle in good running order. Cleaning and maintenance play a large role in the longevity of a home. So many things in life cannot function properly without periodic evaluation to ensure proper operation. The same is true with individual and congregational spiritual health. Like a doctor runs tests to examine data indicating an individual’s level of health, so God’s Word furnishes us with the ability to examine ourselves spiritually. Careful reflection on the Lord’s instructions to the 7 churches in Revelation 1-2 will help us to properly gauge our own congregational health.
Smyrna (Rev. 2:9) was an important center of Imperial worship. The trade guilds and religious cults were important there and whoever refused to acknowledge Caesar as Lord would be excluded. The Saints there struggled to make it. Jesus described them as “poor.” A term that refers to abject poverty where one possesses nothing. And yet He also said they were rich. Not in material goods, but in spiritual (cf. Matt. 6:19-21).
The overall health of a congregation is not measured by the size of their building, number of members, or financial resources. Individuals make up the whole and if the individuals are sound then so too the whole. A congregation of 25 faithful servants is more powerful than a congregation of 500 who are unsound.
Though it is tragic to see sick congregations shrivel away to nothing, we take great joy in the fact that so many congregations of God’s people are healthy and thriving. God’s Word provides the information the church needs to thrive, and every congregation has the ability to follow the prescription. Sick churches can repent and be healthy again. Sound churches can ensure their health long-term. With scripture as your guide, make an honest evaluation of yourself and your congregation. Are you willing to do what it takes to ensure that your congregation flourishes?