Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

You’re smarter than me. I need your help! (See—even my grammar isn’t correct.)

One of the things I do with pastors and church planters is help them develop a clear, easily communicated vision for their ministry.  I firmly believe that all churches share the same purpose—to be a body of people who love God and will enjoy Him forever.  I also believe that all churches share the same mission—make disciples of Christ amongst our neighbors and the nations.

But vision is different.  Vision is an articulation of the unique burden God has placed on a particular pastor in a particular local church.  Whether you see it as a statement of the church’s preferred future, or an aspirational statement or your idealized view of the world—a clearly articulated vision is what will rally a church to accomplish its mission and focus on the things that it will take to get there.  In other words, it gets everybody pulling on the same rope in the same direction.

The tug-of-war picture is apt, because it illustrates the need for both a clear mission and a clear vision.  But when you think about the last time you played tug-of-war, one thing was also very clear.  In any game of tug-of-war, a win is clearly defined.  In summer camps all across the country, kids are winning (and losing) tug-of-war games.  How do they know? Because one team is really happy and the other team is really muddy. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if it was that easy to define the win in our churches?  Now, don’t get all pious and tell me it’s not spiritual to measure things like that.  All churches do it: 

“How many were you running last Sunday?”
“Attendance has been down, but giving has been holding steady.”
“We started two new Sunday School classes last year.”
“How many kids did you have in VBS?”

We are habitual measurers.  But do those numbers really define the win? Do they really tell us if (and how well) we are making disciples? Do they really tell us anything about how well we are moving toward our vision?  They don’t.

That’s where I need smart people like you to help me out. How do you think we need to define the win in our local churches? Or, to be more specific, how should you define the win in your local church?  Remember it has to be something measurable and tangible that we can get our arms wrapped around.  Otherwise, we really have no idea whether we’re moving in the direction of our vision and accomplishing our mission.  It needs to be something that we can look to at the end of the year and say, “Yes, we did what we were supposed to do this year,” or, “Here is where we need to improve next year.”  So that’s the question: How can a local church see how well it is making disciples?  How can it be measured?  In other words, how do you define the win?

(Comments are moderated, but I will get them posted as soon as possible.)


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