It has nothing to do with music. How many show up at Easter doesn’t matter. Your doctrine can be flawless, your worship can be ‘spirit-filled,’ and you could still miss the mark. Longevity isn’t the mark of life nor is the grandeur of the buildings. Some of the most alive churches on the planet are ones that may have no buildings, no elaborate worship team, no menu of programs for all ages.
If you want a simple way to tell if your church is alive, look for one thing: changed lives. That’s it. That’s a simple eye test to know whether a church is breathing on its own or is propped up through artificial means (i.e. building, tradition, etc.). Look at the early church. Look at the members we know: Matthew, a former tax collector and traitor to his people that went on to become a disciple of Jesus and pen the first book in our New Testament. Look at Peter, an impetuous blowhard that transformed into a rock of boldness and truth to lead the early church. Look at Paul, a persecutor of the church turned into the most prolific missionary this world has ever known. When Jesus’ presence is in a church, lives change.
Are lives being changed at your church? Are people being saved? Are people (including adults) being baptized? Are marriages being restored? Are people finding freedom from addictions? Are unchurched and dechurched people finding a home at your church? Are your people sharing the gospel with their friends and bringing them to church? Can you point to lives that have changed within the past year?
If yes, praise God! He is moving, He is transforming, He is alive in your church! If not, as difficult as it might be to grapple with, your church might have some deeper questions to ask. The mark of an alive church isn’t the buildings, the music, the programs or the doctrine. The mark is changed lives. Is your church alive?
QUESTION: Do you agree? Is there a better way to tell if a church is alive?