|A pastor was having lunch with a group of professionals and high-end business people. They each spoke of profits, numbers, and items on their business ledgers. After a few moments of conversation someone said, “So, preacher, what have you been doing lately?” And the preacher shifted nervously in his chair and said, “Well… I’ve been sort of…going forth…and holding forth…and so forth…”|
Ministry can be awfully hard to quantify, and even harder to evaluate. Perhaps that’s why so many clergy seem fixated on the numbers in worship, Sunday School, and the budget. Those are measurable standards. I have no way of knowing how well you are loving God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself, but I can count heads in the sanctuary on Sunday morning.
Yet, over the years I have been in ministry I have found those rubrics to be only superficially helpful. Some congregations grow simply because they are located in a rapidly growing suburb, or because this week’s circus promises to be bigger than last week’s circus.
A church’s real progress is much more subtle. Like overhearing a conversation across the room, one has to lean forward to catch it. And when a congregation is moving from the membership model of
|doing church to a discipleship model, the benchmarks are even harder to see. |
So how are we doing at FCC? What criteria can we use for evaluating where we are on the journey to which God is calling us? Our recently completed renovation project is an important touchstone, of course, but here are a few other signs which I think are just as important: