It’s an important question. If we are looking for a faithful church to be part of. If we are looking towards being involved in pastoral ministry. If we are wanting to be good members and servants of our church week by week. We need to know how to approach this thing which is the centrepiece of God’s eternal plan, the bride of Christ, the agent of mission, the great means of grace and growth for God’s children.

There are various different ways to express the key marks of a healthy, biblical, God-honouring church. Tony Merida a pastor a trainer in the Acts 29 network gives the following in Nature, Marks and Purpose of The Church:

  1. Headship of Christ
  2. Rightly appointed leaders equipping the saints for ministry
  3. True believers
    1. gathering regularly
    2. worshipping
    3. hearing the gospel of Christ preached [see Merida, Christ-Centered Expository Preaching – Merida]
    4. receiving the sacraments rightly administered
    5. under the exercise of church discipline

To these Merida adds that the Nature of the church is ‘called out’ people and the great Goal of the church is worship (to declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light) which will happen as people from all nations are brought to the joyful worship and obedience of disciples (the great commission).

A somewhat overlapping list of marks is given by Mark Dever in his Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. His emphasis is not so much on the essential nature of the church but on those aspects of church practice which are most in danger of being lost in the contemporary church:

For a short explanation of each mark with Bible references and a video see the 9Marks site. Dever has also floated a possible tenth mark – Church that is outward-looking.

iServe Africa does not seek to be a church or take the place of a local church or distract from the local church. Rather iServe Africa seeks to serve and partner with local churches. Pray with us for the churches of Kenya and for our pastors. Pray for faithful Bible teaching and servant leadership in our churches. Pray for a concern for the lost and for leadership development. Pray for spiritually healthy churches and spiritually healthy members.

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