How do you know you’re successful at this whole life thing? I’ll be honest. I’m tempted to gauge my success based on my bank account. I’m also tempted to gauge my success at how well my sons behave. We have the same questions as a church.
How do church leaders know if they are successful or not?
When I was a kid, I played baseball --kind of. I assumed I knew what it meant to keep score because I knew that the team with the most runs scored won the game. Then I attended a game with my friend and his dad. Gary handed me a scorecard. I was lost. I had no clue what to do with it. Now, to be honest, I’ve forgotten most of what he taught me that day. What I do remember from that day, however, was that there are so many leading indicators that help us predict who will have the most runs scored at the end of nine innings. The number of strikeouts, the number of walks, hits and RBI’s etc all help to indicate what team will have the most runs scored at the end.
Our church started thinking how we could discover whether we are successful or not as a church using this same idea. If so, then what’s the scoreboard? We don’t have runs scored. We don’t have touchdowns or points. We have some obvious items to track such as the number of people attending our church and the number of people who have made the decision to trust and follow Jesus and His ways. But beyond those items, what else could we measure?
We decided to develop a scorecard. Kind of like baseball, we track all potential next steps people could take. We track everything from liking and following us on social media platforms to baptism to leading a small group. We believe that God wants to do something in and through each person. There is Kingdom Potential in all of us and we hope to help anyone unlock that Kingdom Potential.
We’ve assigned each potential next steps for people at RE.THINK a set amount of points. Our August score total was 3998 September score total was 4803 and so far in October with 2 weeks to go at the time I’m writing this is 3061. We are building a baseline to understand how easily people can take their next steps at RE.THINK Church as each person matures in their relationship with Jesus.
So if we were to personalize this, could there be leading indicators in your life that would help you understand if you’re being successful or maturing as a person? The author of the letter of Galatians wrote these words, But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
So how do you and I know if we are maturing in our relationship with Jesus? How patient are you? How loving are you? When you walk into a room, do people know you as a person of peace or not? Are you kind?
Now to be completely honest, you’re not going to become more peaceful, more loving, kinder and more gentle on your own. It’s only as a result of living connected to the Holy Spirit. These are the products of being connected. So how do you and I stay connected to the Holy Spirit?
I think this is where the leading indicators help us determine if we are maturing or not.
#1. Do you recognize the difference between going to church and being the church? We recently kicked off one of our favorite message series, Stop Going to Church, with a message that explains the difference. Here’s the link. STOP GOING TO CHURCH WK 1
#2. Prayer. Prayer doesn’t have to be strange and full of confusion. It’s a conversation between you and God. If you’re new to this whole faith concept and don’t really understand prayer (You’re not alone. I still don’t understand it completely.) here’s a blog series we wrote about earlier this year. Prayer Blog
#3. Reading the Bible with a group of people helps you build community and understand the Bible. This next one could be considered two separate indicators but at RE.THINK Church we believe the best way to do these two steps is together. Each Wednesday night we have groups of men, women, and students that gather and discuss what we call our S.O.A.P. journals for the week. Each person reads the previously scheduled reading schedule and follows S.O.A.P. We make these groups open to everyone. We invite skeptics who don’t follow Jesus yet. We invite questions and doubts. We don’t shy away from the tension that this could create. We believe that an appropriate amount of tension is a good thing.
So how could you personally apply this? Start by answering honestly. Are you going to church or are you connected? Are you looking for a way to contribute or are you more concerned with what you get out of attending church?
Are you God and the power of God directly through prayer? We don’t need to pray through someone or ritualistically. We can access God’s directly through prayer. Are you? How often are you praying?
Are you applying the truths we find in the Bible? Are you connected with others who are reading and applying the Bible as well? Do you support each other WHEN life throws you curveballs?
Following these steps might help you understand if you’re putting yourself in position to mature. It’s kind of like a sailor having to adjust the sails to catch the wind and gain momentum. We have to position ourselves and our habits and routines to capture the wind of the Holy Spirit to gain momentum in the maturing process.
Photo by Blake Guidry on Unsplash
WHy a blog?
RE.THINK Church values being a church that is casual. Casual Church goes far beyond the way we dress, it's more about we expect people to take this journey at their own pace. We are here to journey with everyone. So we've created a blog so people can check us out before they show up for a service.