A while back I posed the question about what makes a church successful. I don't have an answer to what brings success but I do have some thoughts about the markers of a successful church:
- They don't care if they have money in the bank. They might or might not but it doesn't guide their decisions.
- A year where they make a profit is a bad year--bad because they didn't spend enough/give to enough causes.
- Their focus is outward. They relate their faith to the world around them and live it out.
- They don't count heads each week and fret about how it compared to the year before.
- They are often truly intergenerational--with a real mix, not just token members of any one age range.
- Growth is a spiritual term, not a numbers game.
- The building is so heavily used it is hard to find a free time for a new event--any funeral involves bumping a group.
- The people who go there can't help but talk about everything that is happening. And their excitement is contagious.
- They don't all agree about everything, they don't think they have to agree about everything, but they can discuss their differences civilly because they take each other's point of view seriously (even when they will never agree).
- They embrace change when needed, but not just for the sake of change.
- Decisions are made only after considering "How does this help us further the Reign of God?".
Now if I could think of a church that lived up to all of those, or even most, I would be more hopeful.