For years as the pastor of a growing congregation I would take time at the end of each year to be quiet and asked God to bring to my mind the significant things He wanted to teach me about the last year. I would also ask God to impart to me what changes He wanted to make in me during the coming year. Then I would I invite the members of the congregation I led to do the same by joining me in an exercise I called a Spiritual Check-up.
A spiritual checkup is similar to a physical checkup a doctor would give you before writing out a prescription or advising you regarding things you can do to stay physically healthy. A spiritual checkup is designed to help grow in your people good spiritual habits.
In the early days of my church’s existence, I would schedule sit down appointments with nearly every person in the congregation and personally go through the checkup with them. When the church grew to beyond my capacity to conduct the checkups personally, I would entrust our small group leaders to administer it to their groups.
Here is an example of what a Spiritual Checkup might look like.
(5 questions to ask to help your church grow spiritually and lead a healthy, purposeful life)
1. Through what difficulties last year did God try to teach you to rely on Him?
Ask your people to remember specific tough times they went through and look back to see how God was right there with them in the those times of trouble. You may also ask about when they experienced God’s presence during times of joy and celebration.
2. What issues do you continually struggle with? Are you cultivating spiritual fruit to address those issues by spending time each day in God’s word and prayer? Which fruit of the spirit do you need to pay special attention in hopes of growing in the coming year?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
3. Are you connecting with others and using the gifts and abilities God gave you?
Ask them where in the church they feel led to serve and with who outside of the church can they reach out to and share their faith?
4. What spiritual habits do want to develop in the coming year?
A daily quiet time of Bible reading and prayer? Memorize a scripture verse each week? Become accountable with another believer? Join a small group Bible study? Choose a ministry to serve in? Look for opportunities to share your faith in Christ each day? Tithe your income each week?
5. What is God putting on your heart to be your scripture verse of the year for 2023?
Each year I would challenge the folks in my congregation to choose a scripture verse to guide them and challenge them in the coming year. If they did choose a verse for the previous year, I would ask them to recall it, reconnect with it, and remember why they chose it. I would ask them to take time to turn off their T.V’s and social media devices and open up God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to a verse that will help to guide you in the coming year.
Here’s hoping that in 2023, God will direct you and your congregation to become the healthiest it has ever been.
For more on this topic, check out chapter F: Feed your flock spiritually, in my latest book “Church Turnaround A to Z”, available on Amazon.