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DNA of a Healthy Church

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Title: DNA of a Healthy Church


1
DNA of a Healthy Church
----------------------- Basic Building Blocks of
a Healthy Church
  • Bryan Nowak
  • Research Services
  • Georgia Baptist Convention

2
The Survey
Data was compiled from a Healthy Kingdom Church
diagnostic survey of 2,926 Georgia Baptists. The
results are based on church member
perceptions. It represents the greatest
distinctions between healthy (growing) and
unhealthy (declining) congregations.
3
What is DNA?
DNA is the hereditary material in humans and
almost all other organisms. The Church is an
organism and not an organization (Body of Christ
1 Cor. 1227). Hereditary material is passed
naturally from parent to offspring. What traits
has your congregation inherited from God and
from others? What are you passing down to the
next generation of believers?
4
Unity of DNA
Nearly every cell in a persons body has the same
DNA. Rogue DNA is not the norm. Each molecule
does not have its own agenda for the body. Cancer
is an abnormal growth of cells which tends to
proliferate in an uncontrolled way. What could
your congregation accomplish for the Kingdom if
all members were working together for a common
purpose?
5
Model for DNA
Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus. The
church staff and leadership team (the nucleus)
model what is important (values). More is caught
than is taught. What biblical and operational
values are observed as important? If the church
body is unhealthy, then maybe we ought to more
closely examine the nucleus!
6
Replication of DNA
An important property of DNA is that it can
replicate or make copies of itself. Healthy
organisms grow by replication. In our case,
reproducing believers through conversion and
discipleship! What would a replication of you
look like? What characteristics would you like to
see passed on to others? What would a replica
of Jesus look like in your culture (incarnational
living)?
7
Building Blocks
Three foundational building blocks separate
churches that are growing and thriving from those
that are spiritually unhealthy.
1. Commitment to follow Gods vision and
Spirit-directed leadership.
2. Commitment to build the body of Christ
inside the church.
3. Commitment to reach the lost outside of the
church.
8
Commitment
9
Commitment
  • 72 of Americans say they have made a personal
    commitment to Jesus Christ that is still
    important in their life today.
  • 29 of Americans say they attend a church
    service, pray to God and read the Bible during
    the week.
  • 16 of Americans say the highest priority in
    their life is their faith.

Barna Update, November 8, 2005
10
Commitment
George Barna reveals insights about Americas
faith "For starters, it appears that most
Americans like the security and the identity of
the label Christian but resist the biblical
responsibilities that are associated with that
identification. For most Americans, being a
Christian is more about image than action.
(Cultural Christians)
Add to that the widespread complacency toward
Christianity among people under 40 and we have
what amounts to a crisis of commitment facing the
Church of the future."
Barna Update, November 8, 2005
11
Commitment to Gods Vision and Spirit-directed
Leadership
1
I know the plans I have for you, declares the
LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah
2911)
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall
direct your paths. (Proverbs 36)
Where there is no vision, the people perish but
he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs
2918)
12
Commitment to Gods Vision and Spirit-directed
Leadership
1
Implications?
Characteristics of a Healthy Church
  1. They have a clear and compelling vision.
  2. Leaders make decisions that are in the best
    interest of the church.
  3. Members understand the decision-making process.
  4. Important decisions are made only after an
    adequate time for prayer.
  5. A few people do not dominate or control the
    church.

13
Commitment to Building the Body of Christ on the
Inside
2
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for
brethren to dwell together in unity. (Psalm 1331)
Under his direction, the whole body is fitted
together perfectly. As each part does its own
special work, it helps the other parts grow, so
that the whole body is healthy and growing and
full of love. (Ephesians 416)
Encourage one another and build each other up.
(1 (1 Thessalonians 511)
14
Commitment to Building the Body of Christ on the
Inside
2
Implications?
Characteristics of a Healthy Church
  1. There is gladness and joy when members are
    together.
  2. Gossip and conflict are not prevalent.
  3. There is an ongoing commitment to unity within
    the congregation.
  4. There is prompt resolution to disagreements.
  5. The church has a reputation in the community for
    having a spirit of harmony.

15
Commitment to Reaching People on the Outside
3
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save
that which was lost. (Luke 1910)
Go, therefore and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching
them to observe all things that I have commanded
you. (Matthew 2819-20)
The harvest is abundant, but the workers are
few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest
to send out workers into His harvest.
(Matthew 937-38)
16
Commitment to Reaching People on the Outside
3
Implications?
Characteristics of a Healthy Church
  1. An effective, evangelistic event is conducted at
    least once a year.
  2. They express compassion for the physical and
    spiritual needs of the unreached, unchurched and
    disconnected.
  3. They understand and practice birthing new
    Sunday School classes.
  4. It is easy for new members to get involved in a
    small group.
  5. There is a process for getting new members
    involved.

17
Stages of Commitment
An educational connection in ones mind.
An emotional ambition in ones heart.
An operational transition to ones hand.
Late Adopters 34
Early Adopters 13
Critical Mass is the willing
Innovators 3
Middle Adopters 34
Laggards 16
18
Signs of a Healthy Church
Thom Rainer Daniel Akin Vibrant Church
Becoming a Healthy Church in the 21st Century
Spiritual Vitality
  1. The church seeks to know and to follow Gods
    will.
  2. Christian growth is emphasized and facilitated.
  3. Church members have an attitude of servanthood.
  4. Church members are faithful in stewardship of
    time, talents and treasures.
  5. The church is a place of vibrant, engaging
    worship.
  6. Members model purity and integrity and do not
    ignore sin in the body.

19
Signs of a Healthy Church
Thom Rainer Daniel Akin Vibrant Church
Becoming a Healthy Church in the 21st Century
Personal Vitality
  1. The church is adaptable and flexible willing to
    change.
  2. The church emphasizes the positive and never
    dwells on the negative.
  3. The church practices accountability and maintains
    high expectations for themselves and for others.
  4. They dont try to do everything, but what they do
    they do well.
  5. The church has focus and purpose.
  6. The church is proactive, not reactive. Healthy
    churches help create their future.

20
Signs of a Healthy Church
Thom Rainer Daniel Akin Vibrant Church
Becoming a Healthy Church in the 21st Century
Relational Vitality
  1. People feel accepted, encouraged and included.
  2. The church builds families (including singles).
    There are appropriate ministries for every age
    group and life circumstance.
  3. Conflict is handled positively and redemptively.
  4. The church is forgiving, but not compromising on
    sin.
  5. The church trusts, respects and supports the
    pastor.
  6. The church has effective, ongoing communication.

21
Signs of a Healthy Church
Thom Rainer Daniel Akin Vibrant Church
Becoming a Healthy Church in the 21st Century
Missional Vitality
  1. The church knows where theyre going and how to
    get there.
  2. The church trains and empowers people for
    ministry according to their giftedness.
  3. The church constantly develops leaders.
  4. The church is outwardly focused.
  5. The church finds or creates connecting points
    with the community.
  6. Church members are intentionally evangelistic.
  7. The church is producing or birthing new
    congregations.

22
Group Brainstorming Time
Group A. How can you collectively understand and
follow Gods unique vision for your congregation?
Group B. How can you create an environment of
love and learning within the church?
Group C. How can you connect with outsiders in
relevant, life-changing ways to demonstrate and
communicate Jesus love effectively?
23
Bryan Nowak Research Services Georgia Baptist
Convention bnowak_at_gabaptist.org 770-936-5245
The only thing that counts is faith expressing
itself through love. Galatians 56 (NIV)
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