The Thessalonian church was a healthy church.
… you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. For not only has the Word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. (1 Thess. 1:7-8)
Moreover, it was healthy a short time after being planted. How did this happen? What were the key elements that went into this?
In 1 Thessalonians Paul tells us how he did this. He shows us in this rich and practical letter how he nurtured a culture of life and health.
The Thessalonian Church shows us that:
- It is possible for health to be achieved by a church. The Thessalonians were “an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia” (1 Thess. 1:7). Sometimes we feel helpless and hopeless when we look at the condition of many churches and we give up and settle for less than God’s highest. But health is possible!
- Health can be achieved quickly. Paul had only been with them for a short time. We don’t know exactly how long he was there. Acts 17:2 speaks of Paul speaking at the synagogue on “three Sabbath days,” but the fact that the Philippians sent him financial help two times (Phil. 4:16) indicates a longer stay – perhaps a couple of months or so. What did Paul do in that short time to establish such profound and enduring life? That is what we will study in this book.
- A healthy church will have powerful ministry impact. This church had significant impact across two provinces (1 Thess. 1:8). A healthy church is not merely healthy for its own sake. God has called us to impact our communities and nations!
- Health in a church can be achieved with a minimum of outside influence when dependence on the Holy Spirit is fostered. Paul was there for only a few months initially (Acts 17:1-10), and Timothy was there briefly later (1 Thess. 3:2). Thus, there was not much outside help for these new believers. Church planting and church building is the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul and his team trusted in the Holy Spirit to do the work and He did it well!
- “Health” does not mean “perfection.” Paul addresses problems in this same letter (e.g., 1 Thess. 4:1-8). The Thessalonian church was not perfect. Our goal must be realistic.
About A Portrait of a Healthy Church, by Malcolm Webber:
This exposition studies 1 Thessalonians, verse by verse, through the lens of the Healthy Church Model, in order to reveal what a healthy church is and how it is built.
A Portrait of a Healthy Church is a practical roadmap for church leaders and planters, focusing not on techniques but on the life of the leaders and the churches they lead.
If we can get the life right, then, by God’s grace, the right structure will follow and the Church will be the beautiful Bride, the glorious Temple and the mature Body that Jesus died for and will soon return for!
A Portrait of a Healthy Church is available for purchase here. To purchase more of our books, visit https://www.strategicpress.org/.