If a flower doesn’t grow, do you blame the seed or the environment? As I care for a seed I’ve planted, my expectation is that eventually, it will sprout and bloom. Growth is a sign of health. In the same way a bloom is evidence of a flower’s health, there are markers we can look at as evidence of a healthy church.
The book of Acts beautifully lays out eight key signs of a healthy church. To give you some context: the moment in scripture we’re stepping into is the beginning of the early church. The believers had received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and their response was to go out and build the church. Acts 2:42-47 says,
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
There is so much insight packed into those few verses. Let’s take a moment to break down each one, pulling out the eight signs of a healthy church.
Everyone was filled with awe… (Acts 2:43)
Awe is defined as “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.” Time and time again, the Bible tells us to fear the Lord — not to be afraid of him, but to stand in reverence of his glory. A sense of awe lingers in the air of a healthy church.
…at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles (Acts 2:43)
Miracles, signs, and wonders are not restricted to the early church. God is the same today as he was back then, and the Holy Spirit is still at work. I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful that God is still in the business of performing miracles and providing breakthroughs. In a healthy church, miracles are the norm and not the exception.
All the believers were together and had everything in common (Acts 2:44)
The enemy is not afraid of a big church; he’s afraid of a united one. Let me be clear that unity does not mean uniformity. Diversity is something to celebrate. In a healthy church, even among differences, everyone is unified under the vision, aligned in values, and working together to move the mission forward.
They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need (Acts 2:45)
A healthy church is marked by generosity. There should be internal generosity as the church body gives of their time, talents, and treasure, and external generosity as the church serves as a resource to meet local and global needs. Giving is not an obligation — it’s our privilege to bless others as God blesses us.
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts… (Acts 2:46)
A healthy church sees fellowship among its people. We don’t have to do this, we get to do this, and we get to do it together. Life is serious, but we don’t always have to be. There is joy to be found as we partner with God as he builds his church.
...praising God… (Acts 2:47)
Worship is the only right response to the presence of God. It’s a weapon, and the enemy doesn’t know what to do with a church that refuses to stop praising.
...and enjoying the favor of all the people (Acts 2:47)
Favor is supernatural. A healthy church will see God’s hand of blessing and provision resting on it. Favor lays the foundation for miracles to happen.
And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:47)
Lastly, we need to keep an excitement for the lost. The day we decide our church has grown enough is the day we should close our doors. A healthy church keeps the mission in mind, eyes focused on bringing those far from God close to him.