What sort of Church do we want? More importantly, what kind of
Church does God want? These questions are important, and
especially so if a church is considering church planting.
The following points are not intended as a complete description
of the ideal church, but as a statement of priorities. These are
things which seem to be vital if we are going to make a serious
attempt to live as Christ's Body on Earth. They are not listed in
any particular order.
A healthy church...
Stands on one foundation: Jesus Christ.
Is rooted in grace.
Stands on two legs: truth and love, firmly rooted in reality
Seeks to balance the five basic tasks: mission, prophecy,
evangelism, pastoral care and teaching.
Practices every member ministry, believes in the priesthood
of all believers.
Knows that relationships are essential: loves God and loves
other people in practical ways.
Recognises that I can only love my neighbour as much as I
Remembers that who we are is more important than what we do.
Keeps the priorities clear: being a child of God first, a
worshipper second, and a worker third.
Is committed to personal and corporate growth.
Freely gives and receives forgiveness, recognising that we
are all less than perfect.
Strives for holiness but does not pretend to have achieved
Seeks to achieve but accepts the limitations given by God.
Recognises that personal growth and obedience are the
responsibility of each individual: we are all disciples, all
learners; we all need to grow more like Jesus.
Lives in the light of eternity.
Desires to play a significant part in God's eternal purpose.
Recognises that following Jesus is the ultimate adventure in
Attempts to learn from history.
Believes what the Apostles taught, as revealed in the Bible.
Encourages use of the gifts of the Spirit as a natural part
of the Christian life.
Encourages the exercise of all the gifts and talents God has
given; uses everything God has given, including the intellect,
in His service.
Expects our Father to lead us all, but not lead us all to do
the same things; celebrates unity in diversity.
Balances inner life and outer service, both as individuals
and as a group.
Believes that God is interested in the whole person - our
bodies, minds and emotions as well as our souls.
Practices evangelism as a part of its total involvement in
the world where God has placed us; follows the call to be both
salt and light.
Refuses to separate the sacred and the secular.
Does not believe any of the historic Christian churches,
traditions or denominations have been infallible, either in
orthodoxy or orthopraxy.
Receives with pleasure and thankfulness the good things God
gives us; recognises that enjoyment is a by-product of obedience
Does not criticise other Christians or groups, but seeks to
learn from them wherever possible, and gives them the freedom to
The style of the meetings is primarily relaxed and informal.
The people believe things like...
We don't need to dress up to 'meet with God.'
We don't take ourselves too seriously: God is important; we
God does not need us to build His Kingdom, but He does use
Worship should invite participation, not require it; the
leadership will not try to dictate what the people should do or
3. Other Helpful Resources
It would be helpful, in addition to the list above, to have the
A chart or diagram to encapsulate the key ideas, with
possibly a smaller version to use as the logo - for one
suggestion, see below.
A charter to publicly define the group.
A covenant for people to use as a personal statement of
commitment to God and the other people.
A set of guidelines to shape expectations, describing what
members can expect of the church, and what the church can expect
of the members; and what the members can expect of each other.
The logo should suggest ideas such as the following.
The Church is growing, getting larger.
Jesus is at the centre, the world is on the outside, and the
five areas of ministry connect the two together.
The whole structure rests on God.
The structure is unstable: it will fall down unless God
keeps it upright, keeps it going.