Some churches are stronger than others. They have a feel about them. They feel strong, mature, developed. Now a lot of what makes a churches strong is intangible. I don’t think it’d be possible to measure the spiritual vitality of a community of believers. But I do think that there are a couple of things that can be externally observed which serve as a litmus for where a church is. Here’s my thinking:
In the Baptist Union there are four types of churches: A-type, B-type, C-type and D-type churches. The designations are make believe, but it kinda helps us categorise who’s who in the zoo.
A-type churches are Self-governing, Self-supporting and Self-propagating. They are generally large, vibrant communities which have a long history.
B-type churches are Self-governing and Self-supporting. They are generally medium in size.
C-type churches are Self-governing. There are often smaller communities.
D-type churches are unconstituted or failed communities.
By saying Self-governing I mean autonomous, properly constituted churches.
By saying Self-supporting I mean that the church in question has called a fulltime shepherd who they are able to adequately compensate.
By saying Self-propagating I mean that the community is actively engaged in creating a community of like-minded believers in another properly constituted church.