My personal "hands-on" experiences with local churches for decades now, I believe speaks effectively this topic. I have outlined for you - done my own homework for you, with a check-off list of what to look for in a "healthy" church body, and what to steer clear from. Don't waste your time, energies or a potential emotional downfall with a "poor me" outcome, with the "Steer Clear" points of interests you'll find in an unhealthy church body.
If you have been traumatized by a local church at some time in your life, I am here to tell you, you are not alone. The vast numbers of heart-broken and/or spiritually injured people who have confided with me now for decades, have shared from their hearts their let-downs, their inabilities to grow - most of the time when this happens you can be sure a church as this is run by spiritually stagnant and/or immature board members, who generally are advising a young pastor as well.
This package I just mentioned, is a recipe for disaster in more ways than one.
If you are a church leader reading this highlight, I hope this will be a wake-up call for you, if it applies. Spiritually immature church leadership should not even exist, and when it is discovered to be just this, a revision of this detrimental leadership overseeing a local church, should justifiably be in order. Yet, and unfortunately for so many genuinely seeking-hearts, it is more thriving in our local communities than we'd like to believe. And if you are one of those willing to risk again, "getting connected" as they call it today, a current day "buzz word" that sounds attractive to the seeker of socially "opinionated" friendships, but would set off an alarm to the serious seeker of Truth and intense non-opinionated bible study, the following just might interest you.
I cannot urge you enough to "watch out!" Do your homework - FIRST, least you like some many who have gone before you, get caught up in something that God is NOT GROWING - something that God has not blessed.
And isn't this what we all want? Don't we all want to "get connected" with a church body that God is blessing and growing spiritually, as well as prospering financially? "Prosperity" is NOT a negative word as some churches teach. Like anything, it is how it is used that counts. God has called his church to be "the head" and not "the tail" as many spiritually churches have become. And when this happens, what a mockery of God's Glorious Kingdom, His Glorious Bride - His Church, they have become as well. This lack is a true mockery and a poor witness for Christ, the Risen God who lives in believers who have committed to live for Him, and to glorify Him in all we do and are caretakers of. A consistent lack of growth, spiritually and financially, is a poor witness for the Living Risen God who yearns to bless, but cannot when sin thrives within it's leadership of immaturity with their own agendas.
With this said, I have now put together the following points of interest for the serious seeker of Truth. If you are a casual seeker only, possibly content with a fun and games church agenda or where opinions with studying Holy Scripture carry as much weight or more, as well-studied, well-handled, and rightly applied viewpoints, then this highlight today may not keep your attention to even this point.
What Makes a Healthy Church And Red Flags to Watch out For
1) Look for and get to know the church leaders. If they respond to you with welcoming your desire to get to know them, making room for you to get to know them, you can be sure relationships in this way will clarify the strength of this church sooner than later.
2) Ask those who would know and have this information, what their financial status in "giving," has been, if there has been growth. Peeks and valleys for a short time are expected, however, if there has been more consistency with "in-the-red" scenarios than growth with an increase - God calls for increase desires increase in all areas of our lives, let this be a red flag that something is wrong, and beware!
3) Find out if their numbers are growing, consistently, and if so, this may be a positive sign when balanced with these other points of interest. If they have not grown, and more seekers are leaving the church than are coming and with a staying power that is from God as only He is able to keep them, let this be another "red-flag" to watch out for.
4) If while patiently waiting for God to show you if this is the right place for yo to make your home, and you ask members what brought them to this church, and they say the entertainment that some larger churches thrive, "red flag" again, unless at some point they can tell you that the teaching and preaching is solid, non-opinionated with bible studies as well. If after sometime this person or persons (several viewpoint solidify your case with this), have not grown spiritually with a love and hunger for God's Word and the entertainment sometimes called "worship," is what keeps them, then ask more questions and beware again