Acts 2, 5; Matt. 28

Healthy churches are those that fulfill their biblical purpose.

(Duct tape illustration using a roll of tape) Many of you here are familiar with this product. You have probably used it many times for many different purposes. Years ago, thousands of dollars were spent in research to develop this product. It is the invention of two men. Today, we use it on tons of things. You can use it to temporarily fix pipes. If you get a hole in your pants while hiking, you can use it to tape up your pants. It is even used on the space shuttle to temporarily fix problems. I used to have a friend who claimed the world was held together with duct tape and baling wire.

But duct tape was created with a specific purpose in mind. It was designed to be used in heating and air conditioning applications to seal joints on metal ductwork. Have any of you ever tried to use it on ductwork? This is some of the sorriest tape for ductwork I have ever seen! You try to use it on the insulation around the duct, and it sticks for about two minutes. It doesn’t really stick to the duct either. It was created for a purpose, but it does everything but what it was designed to do!

Too many churches are just like duct tape. They do everything except what they were created to do. The question before us is this: Is [name of your church] a ducttape church? Is your church fulfilling the purposes for which God created it? Healthy churches are those that fulfill their biblical purpose.

This message is not just for the leadership of the church; it is for every person who is a baptized member of the church because all members of the church have a part in helping it fulfill the purpose for which it was created. Let me say that again: All baptized members of the church have some part in fulfilling its purpose. Church is not a spectator sport, even though some people think it is.

Many people have opinions about why the church exists and what its purpose is. If you ask five church members to define the purpose of the church, you will probably get five different definitions! Church is for fellowship, to win souls, and other things, but this is not the whole answer. Sometimes you may even hear people make the audacious statement that “the church exists to meet my needs.”

To get a true picture of what the church was created to do, we need to go to the Bible. There are at least five biblical purposes for the church. Healthy, growing churches will strive to fulfill all of these purposes in a balanced way. Let’s look at them together now.

I. Healthy churches celebrate God’s presence in worship AND UNITY (ACTS 2:46, 47)

Worship is a personal encounter with God in which one expresses love for God and surrenders completely to Him. (It’s not just a mental thing. Love doesn’t flow from the mind; it flows from the heart).

True worship includes the total person, both mind and emotion, in a way that calls him or her to praise God for who He is and what He has done and, in so doing, to reach a new awareness of and learn more about God.

Worship does not have anything to do with style or form; rather, it involves the attitude of our hearts. Worship is not accomplished only through acts; it is also accomplished through godly living and service (Rom. 12:1). Any church that places little emphasis on worship will experience little of God.

II. Healthy churches share God’s love in ministry (ACTS 2:44, 45)

Ministry is meeting the needs of the total person (spiritual, emotional, social, and physical), and this doesn’t just mean members of the church! Our problem is that we want to limit the definition of who our neighbor is.

I believe the Bible would define a neighbor as anyone whom God loves. Since God so loved the world, that would make our definition of neighbor invalid. The world outside the church walls doesn’t care how much you know. They want to know how much you care!

III. Healthy churches are involved in evangelism (matt. 28:19, 20)

The church is God’s agent of redemption to bring the message of Jesus Christ to the world. God is on a mission to redeem lost humanity and calls His church to be on this mission with Him.

We are given the privilege of being ambassadors for God’s kingdom. Being an ambassador carries with it not only the command to share the gospel but also the obligation to live the gospel! Churches will not grow substantially if the membership doesn’t share the gospel.

IV. Healthy churches grow in membership (acts 5:14; 2:46, 47)

Membership means a lot more than just putting someone’s name in the church books; it is about making people a part of the family (or the fellowship). Membership is an essential part of building fellowship within the church.

Fellowship is an essential element of a healthy church and a necessity for personal growth. Churches that don’t have healthy fellowship or that fail to assimilate new members will grow cold.

V. Healthy churches educate in discipleship (matt. 28:19, 20; 2 pet. 3:18)

Contrary to popular belief, the ultimate end of the Christian faith is not just salvation. We are to “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” so that we can go back into the world and make a difference. We are to be more than those who simply believe just the facts. We are to be followers (disciples). That requires discipleship.

Sadly, discipleship is something that most churches do poorly. We tend to “dunk ‘em and forget ‘em” and never equip people to do the work of the ministry (even the fundamentals of the faith). Discipleship (equipping) is the main function of the leaders and one of the most important works of the church (Eph. 4:11, 12).


Worship. Ministry. Evangelism. Membership. Discipleship. Is [name of your church] fulfilling these five purposes? Healthy churches are those that fulfill their biblical purpose. Let’s all do our part to be an intentional healthy church!