for the Characteristics of a Vibrant Church
of this Introduction
Painting a Vision of ‘Church'
The Proposed Characteristics of a Vibrant biblically-based Church
this introductory Part I want to simply propose formulating a
Biblical vision for the Church, suggest its characteristics and
pose the introductory questions about how we may go about it.
Painting a Vision of ‘Church'
have previously written of a vibrant church
and so I would do well to describe what I mean by that before
we go on in the following Parts to examine four of the key ingredients
of such a church. I am sure others could be added but these are
the ones, observing the spectrum of the Church today, that seem
to come to the fore as of particular importance.
writing a series of studies on the Seven Churches of Asia Minor
in Rev 2 & 3, in the one about Laodicea I found myself writing
spiritually rich church is one that is alive with the presence
and power and activity of God by His Spirit, where life and vitality,
where fellowship and friendship, where power and authority, pour
through the congregation, through this potentially wonderful ‘body
of Christ', bringing constant life transformations, with conversions,
deliverances and healings being a regular feature of their life.
that study and in the context of Laodicea I added, ‘We may think
we are rich but if these things are absent, we are wretched, pitiful,
poor, blind and naked,' and honesty makes me wonder if this is
how Jesus sees his Church today if we fall short of that description
above? This series is to help us see if we are such a ‘vibrant
church', and if not, what steps may we take to become it?
another series on this site, ‘Learning to Pray for the Church',
which came about as a result of leading a Prayer Workshop, I proposed
four key characteristics of a vibrant church
that follow the New Testament teaching.
The Characteristics of a Vibrant Biblically-based Church
if you I haven't read those notes I should briefly reiterate those
four characteristics here because they are the foundation of the
four Parts that follow in this series (and remember these here
are really just headings).
First, such a church is utterly
Bible-based and holds Bible teaching very seriously.
Second, such a church majors
on relationships in order to create an environment that
is conducive to both healing us up and teaching for growth, and
reveals us as the ‘different' people of God
Third, such a church works vigorously
to open the door to the Holy Spirit and lead
all its members into eventually being filled with the Spirit and
gifted for service by the Spirit.
Fourth, such a church will have
a strong outward looking emphasis in its desire
to glorify God in this world and bring His life and love to the
All of this, I should add, was in
the context or environment of a church that puts prayer
and a living relationship with the Lord very
high on the agenda.
I think it would be right to add
that a year or so back I also wrote a series entitled ‘Faith Church'
and so faith must be another key component to
be considered when we are pondering on what a vibrant Christian
church might be and the characteristics we might observe in it.
I suspect that a number reading that list of four things above
would say, we are doing all those things. Well, wait until we
move into each Part examining each of those seven things (yes,
prayer, relationships and faith included) and then see if that
is really true. I think what we can sometimes find is that if
they are all represented it may not be in the fulness that could
be. More commonly, we may find one or more of those initial four
but not all of them. Let's wait and see.
found myself thinking
How would the leaders of any
local church go about bringing into being this ‘vibrant church'
that I have been thinking and praying about?
What are the practicalities
of achieving it?
How may it fit into the Lord's
universal timetable for this point of history?
is what this series is about.