Any good physician will make certain your physical exam includes at least three components. First, the doctor will want you to have thorough lab work. Second, all exams include a comprehensive look at your physical body. Third, the physician will ask you a series of questions that would lead him or her to know more about your overall physical and emotional health.
In my work with churches across America, I often ask a series of questions that help me assist the church to become more evangelistically focused. Recently, I took time to write down the questions I ask most often. Look at these ten questions to get at least some hints of the evangelistic health of your own church.
1. Are members more concerned about the lost than their own preferences and comfort? Listen to how church members talk to understand what their true priorities are.
2. Is the church led to pray for lost persons? Most churches are pretty good about praying for those who have physical needs. But do they pray for those who have the greatest spiritual need, a relationship with Jesus Christ?
3. Are the members of the church open to reaching people who don't look or act like them? The gospel breaks all racial, ethnic, and language barriers. Do the members seek to reach others? Do they rejoice when these people become a part of the church?
4. Do conflicts and critics zap the evangelistic energy of the church? An evangelistic church is a united church. A divided church is rarely evangelistic.
5. Do small groups and Sunday school classes seek to reach lost persons within their groups? Sunday school was once one of the most effective evangelistic tools in the church. Are the groups in your church evangelistic?
6. Is the leadership of the church evangelistic? The congregation will follow and emulate the priorities of the church leadership.
7. Do the sermons regularly communicate the gospel? They may not be evangelistic sermons in the classic sense, but all sermons should point people to Jesus.
8. Are there ministries in the church that encourage members to be involved in evangelistic outreach and lifestyle? You may be surprised to find how many members become evangelistic with a modest amount of training and equipping.
9. Have programs become ends in themselves rather than means to reach people? Perhaps a total ministry and program audit is in order.
10. Is there any process of accountability for members to be more evangelistic? That which is rewarded and expected becomes the priority of the congregation.
After their imprisonment for sharing the gospel with others, Peter and John appeared before the Sanhedrin who demanded their silence. Listen to how the two Apostles, with their lives on the line, responded to their accusers: "But Peter and John answered them, 'Whether it's right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard'" (Acts 4:19-20, HCSB).
I pray that more and more of our church members have the heart and attitude exemplified by Peter and John. May we be so motivated to share the gospel that we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.
How would you assess the evangelistic health of your church? What questions would you ask for a good diagnosis?