Top Indicators of an Unhealthy Church

There are clear indicators of effective clergy that would ensure that she or he would receive an appointment regardless of whether her or his appointment is guaranteed in the United Methodist Church. There are also churches that are more and less healthy. In April, the Connectional Table of the United Methodist Church suggested that there are five areas to be measured in a church:

  • worship attendance
  • disciples engaged in mission
  • professions of faith
  • mission giving
  • spiritual / discipleship formation groups.

Unhealthy churches are those that are not breaking even or growing in these areas. Other, less official indicators include:

  • Requesting that 3 of the last 5 appointed pastors move in less than two years.
  • No clear mission or vision.
  • Unwelcoming to first time guests.

What would you add to this list?

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One thought on “Top Indicators of an Unhealthy Church

  1. To the unhealthy church list, I would add:
    1. Abusive – to clergy and other members.
    2.Cultic – churches that manipulate, deceive and use other unethical means to acquire and keep members.
    3. Resistant to change.
    4. No passion for ministry beyond “paying” the dollar.

    There are a great many more, of that I’m sure.

    As for the areas the Connectional Table has identified, my questions are who the Bishop/Cabinet will identify as being responsible for these areas and do all of these have to show increase all the time? I believe that no church is perfect and will have periods of illness/unhealh just as our human bodies do. The time it takes to recover and regain forward momentum would be an added indicator of a church that will remain unhealthy for centuries. One of the things that I’ve discovered is that generational disease is harder to bring healing to than a new issue.

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