Four essential characteristics of FaithSoaring Churches are Good Faith, Good Fellowship, Good Works, and Good News. All four characteristics must be present in congregations or they are incomplete, myopic, and lack sufficient spiritual and strategic vitality and vibrancy. They also must interact in a way that creates a synergy that is greater than the cumulative impact of their individual characteristics. Only when this synergy is present will congregations move from being good enough to being sufficiently great.
The idea behind suggesting these are the essential characteristics of great FaithSoaring Churches is my desire to understand what characterizes congregations when they are functioning with great spiritual and strategic surrender to God’s empowering vision.
Management guru Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, suggests many organization are good. Functioning in a great manner, however, eludes the many organizations. David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons in their book, Good Faith, challenge Christians to live out a good faith. They also share what they believe constitutes a good faith practice.
The exceptional synergy of Good Faith, Good Fellowship, Good Works, and Good News results in Great FaithSoaring Churches with a generous presence of spiritual and strategic vitality and vibrancy.
Defining the Four Goods
Good Faith is about the spiritual quest of congregations as they worship the Triune God, and help people engage in a Christ-centered, faith-based lifestyle to run the spiritual race of continually maturing discipleship involving spiritual formation, leadership development, and missional engagement.
Good Fellowship is about the quest for community within congregations as they help people move from face familiarity with others to meaningful relationships and ultimately true friendships within a loving Christ-like congregational fellowship.
Good Works is about the Great Commandment quest of congregations as they seek to lovingly and compassionately encounter and engage with people who are literally and figuratively hungry, thirsty, a stranger, naked, sick, and imprisoned both within the congregational context and globally.
Good News is about the Great Commission quest of congregations in a ministry of reconciliation as they seek to introduce people to the unconditional love of God through Jesus Christ with the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit so that people might be reconciled to God.
Achieving the synergy of Good Faith, Good Fellowship, Good Works, and Good News is an intentional decision. The failure to achieve the synergy of these four can be unintentional or intentional. In every case the failure to achieve the synergy of these four means a congregation is missing essential characteristics to be vital and vibrant—much less FaithSoaring.
It is not necessary for a FaithSoaring Church to have an exact balance of each of these characteristics. Some imbalance shows the unique characteristic of specific congregations. Yet, congregations must have a generous presence of each characteristic to achieve the synergy needed to soar with faith.
Each of these characteristics are good. With appropriate synergy they can result in a great congregation. Each is sufficiently good that some congregations want to focus on one or two to the exclusion of the others. Doing so may create a radical imbalance and even the absence of one or two of the essential characteristics. Such congregations are dysfunctional.
This raises the following four questions. What happens when Good Faith is over emphasized? What happens when Good Fellowship is over emphasized? What happens when Good Works is over emphasized? What happens when Good News is over emphasized?
The four parallel questions are these. What happens when Good Faith is under emphasized? What happens when Good Fellowship is under emphasized? What happens when Good Works is under emphasized? What happens when Good News is under emphasized?
Where is the Good in your congregation? How well does your congregation approach the status of Great? How did you determine this?