Signs of Life

Pastor Matthew Best
4 min readDec 17, 2021

It’s one thing to make claims. It’s another to be able to point to something that either confirms or rejects what you are claiming. In our current political state, many people seem to think that just because they claim something, and really believe it, they think it must be true. Forget the evidence. That doesn’t work, no matter how firm of a belief you have about something.

So with that in mind, how do we know if a church is “alive” or showing signs of life? How do we know that faith is living? It’s not just because we believe that is the case. It’s not because we want it to be true. It’s because there is evidence that points to the conclusion that there is life.

If you do a google search for signs of life, you’ll find a variety of answers. Most sites I’ve seen have a range of 5–7 characteristics/signs of life — things that help us discern that something is alive. These signs of life apply to organizations and churches as well. The church especially should show signs of life — it is the body of Christ after all. And a body is supposed to be alive.

So here are seven signs of life that also apply to the church.

  1. Movement — things that are alive are able to move on their own volition. Movement is a sign of life. Things that aren’t alive move, but only because they are acted upon. But movement happens because there is a cause to move. Churches are supposed to be movements. Christianity started as a movement called The Way. Movements, like churches are what give churches energy and reason for existing. When people are excited about being church, they move — they move by doing service. They move by being in fellowship with each other. They move in many ways.
  2. Respiration — We commonly think of this as breath. Things that are alive breathe. But respiration is more than that. When it comes to churches, respiration is closely aligned with the Spirit — the very breath of life. Living churches are filled with the Spirit. Now before you think that only Pentecostal-style churches are alive, please understand that style is not the point here. The Spirit shows up in many ways in a variety of churches. Are baptisms happening? Confirmation? Are people getting fired up about serving, building community, discipleship? Where there is life in the church, the Spirit reigns and touches the church. The Spirit breaths life.
  3. Sensitivity — This has to do with the ability to respond to our environment. Living things have this ability. Churches do too. What are the…
Pastor Matthew Best

My name is Matthew Best. I’m an ELCA (Lutheran) pastor who attempts to translate church and churchy stuff into everyday language.