Two Common Practices In Healthy Churches

Dr. Thom Rainer
Dr. Thom Rainer

Churches are too busy.

Church members are too busy.

We have created cultures of activity in many of our churches instead of cultures of transformational discipleship. There are so many important facets of church life to emphasize. Where should we put our greatest emphases?

Without diminishing other ministries and activities in churches, I want to share with you the two most common practices in healthy churches. I understand that “healthy” can have a subjective nature to it. And I understand that correlation is not the same as causation.

But, after looking at tens of thousands of churches over the past several years, I would be negligent if I did not note these two common practices in the healthiest of the churches. These practices showed up again and again.

1. The church strongly encourages its members to read the Bible daily. Brad Waggoner, in his excellent book, The Shape of Faith to Come, provides excellent research toward this reality. When Christians read their Bibles every day, they are more likely to evangelize, minister to the community, pray, give to the church, and be a unifying force in the congregation. The healthy churches do not simply say members should read their Bibles, they are highly intentional and strategic about helping the members toward that end. It is not a one-and-done emphasis. It is a part of the DNA of the church, and the emphasis and encouragement is redundant and persistent.

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Dr. Thom Rainer is president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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