What burdens my heart is two things. First, we have raised people to believe that ministry success is based upon numbers. The number of people that come to Sunday School, Worship, Baptisms, Big Events, or Programs. We even base it on financial aspects as well. We “met budget this year”, or that was a “huge offering”…etc… Second, we have raised people to believe that church is what takes place on Sunday mornings at 11 A.M. If our Sunday’s are typically defined as being a “great day”, we are successful.
The reality is that real spiritual fruit is not correctly valued in numbers or dollars. The world bases its success in that way. One will never find that true in kingdom values. One hundred years from now it really won’t matter if we met our high attendance goal or exceeded a finance committee’s expectation. The reality is that a being a great church isn’t determined by what our Sunday mornings are like. There’s nothing wrong with great Sunday’s or high attendance… but should that be our focus?
The real measuring stick is whether or not people are being discipled to spiritual maturity. It’s good to say that we had 100…200 in Worship. Yet, step back and ask how many in that crowd actually have a developing and progressive relationship with God. Simply relating biblical information to a large crowd of people doesn’t make them disciples and doesn’t make us successful.
Success comes when people are truly becoming mature in the faith. What does maturity look like… how do you know when one has got there? When a person has been discipled to maturity…. It’s not just about attendance on Sunday but your obedience on any given day. It’s not about information in Sunday School but transformation of your life. It’s not about routine and ritual but all about the relationship. Maturity bottom line is not when a person has continual involvement in the calendar events of the church but it is when the life of Christ has a continual impact in the fabric of that persons days! There are so many people at church, yet so many of those do not reflect the life of Christ hence the maturity of the believer.
We want to define success in ministry as intentional discipleship that bears fruit. Success is seeing people mature as believers who are living the life of Christ as the pattern of their life in the fabric of our society! We want to define success as being generational and progressive. As Paul told Timothy, I trained and disciple you. You train and disciple others. They will train and disciple more! The church…. Central cannot be successful until this is happening!
Sure it will be great to one day say…. “We had 100 in worship service today!” But it will be even more exciting to say…. “We are now seeing our third and fourth and fifth generation of disciples in our midst!” In I John chapter two, he wrote about this happening… little children became young men… young men became Father’s. May God give us the grace to see this happen again and again at Central!
Time To Toil
Colossians 1: 28, 29