Anglican Futures: Anglican Alphabet Spaghetti

Anglican Futures Anglican Alphabetti Spaghetti A dummies guide to the plethora of organisations and acronyms linked to faithful Anglicans in the UK and Europe. I once spent some time around military personel.  Everything had its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym) right...

Canterbury Tales: Favourite Bible Stories Retold by Archbishop Justin Welby

Canterbury Tales Favourite Bible stories retold by Archbishop Justin Welby The Good Samaritan A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead, halfway...

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops

Anglican Mission in England Elects Two Suffragan Bishops The Anglican Mission in England (AMiE) met in Synod on 18 June.  While there, they elected two suffragan bishops to aid Bishop Andy Lines in providing episcopal oversight for the overall work.  Bishop Lines also...

Pride Flags Causing Conflict at Christian School

Pride Flags Cause Conflict at Christian School Conflict has broken out in a Christian school in Oxfordshire over the display of “Pride” flags. The institution in question is Kingham Hill School.  The same Trust (Kingham Hill Trust) oversees Oak Hill College, an...

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers

Prayer Book Society Raising Funds to Put BCPs in the Hands of Choristers The Prayer Book Society, which will soon celebrate its 50th Anniversary, is raising funds to put a special edition BCP into the hands of junior choristers around the nation.   The idea came to...

Book Review: Reimagining Britain by Justin Welby

Reimagining Britain Foundations for Hope Justin Welby Bloomsbury, 2018, new edn. 2021 (ISBN: 978-1-4729-8497-5, 322pp, £12.99) The Archbishop of Canterbury has made several notable political interventions recently, including over ‘partygate’ and the Rwanda deportation...

Birthday of Anglicanism in America

Birthday of Anglicanism in America By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins June 16, 1607 was the birthday of Anglicanism in America. On this day Captain John Smith and 104 others celebrated the Lord’s Supper when they arrived safely in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown was the...

Barnabas Fund Report: Two ChiBok Girls Found

Barnabas Fund Reports Two Chibok Girls Found After 8 Years 24 June 2022 Two women, who were among hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram from the Nigerian town of Chibok eight years ago, have been found. Hauwa Joseph was discovered among a group of other...

New Bishop-elect for the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory

Church of Ireland News New Bishop Elected for Cashel, Ferns & Ossory The Church of Ireland diocese of Cashel, Ferns, and Ossory now has a bishop-elect.  The Venerable Adrian Wilkinson, Archdeacon of Cork, Cloyne, and Ross was elected to succeed the Rt Revd Michael...

Editorial: Lessons to be Learned from the American Pro-Life Movement

Editorial Lessons to be Learned from American Pro-Life Movement Friday, 24 June 2022, the Feast of St John the Baptist, will be a date which will live in infamy amongst the supporters of abortion.  On that date, the US Supreme Court, overturned the precedent set by...

How to Spot a Healthy Church by Jonathan Bond

How to Spot a Healthy Church

By Jonathan Bond

Are you familiar with being asked the question “how many baptisms have you had in the last three years?”

Have you sat with a fellow pastor or filled in a questionnaire when that question came up (as well-meaning as it is) and felt your heart sink as you reflected on the answer you were about to give?

Often it makes us feel that we are failing in our ministry, that the Lord isn’t blessing it, or that we are ministering in the wrong place.

Of course, if there have been conversions, it is something to rejoice in and praise God for – we should all long to see men, women, boys, and girls coming to faith in the Lord Jesus. But is that the only way that a local church grows or experiences God’s grace upon its ministry?

Is that the only way for a local church’s ministry to be a blessed ministry? Is that the only way that a church leader should be encouraged in his calling?

Love over works

I am sure that when the Lord looks at his people, he is more interested in their love for him, their love for each other, and their character (the way they model him) than their works and the cumulative conversion count they have experienced in their ministry.

Of course, all Christian ministry is important; but it ought to flow from an ever-developing and growing Christian character.

“Our call is to model Jesus and to trust him in his word.”

Let me suggest a few things that perhaps aren’t given the right priority when discussing church growth:

  • The love of Jesus shown by each believer to all others. This is a sign of a church that is experiencing God’s grace upon it and is indeed knowing true spiritual growth within it.
  • A sincere, church-wide desire to grow in Christlikeness, where believers in their hearts and deeds strive to allow the Spirit of God to transform them to become more like Jesus.
  • The priority of the word of God and prayer – not just for the pastor and church leaders but for the whole fellowship.
  • A prayerful dependence upon the Lord, that is outward-looking in attitude and practice, to share the good news of Jesus.
  • A desire to make the building, welcome, services, and other activities culturally appropriate as well as gospel-orientated.

Jesus’ priority and ours

My summary is simple: if it’s a priority for the Lord Jesus, then it must be a priority for us as individuals and as local churches. Our call is to model Jesus and to trust him in his word.

Jesus’ priority was to model the Father’s heart and to do his will in everything he did. We won’t go wrong if they are our priorities also.

If they are, we will – by God’s grace – know spiritual growth and the smile of the sovereign of the universe upon us and our churches. We will be part of a local church that is truly blessed.


Jonathan Bond is the FIEC Director for Smaller Churches.