How do you define success? Obviously it depends on a specified area. For your career, is it a dollar figure, something you like, or something that is above a certain level of stature? This is more difficult to say for a church or a believer. What is a successful church? Do you measure success by growth by numbers, individual growth, or works?
I don’t think you can measure success by growth in numbers alone. To measure success of a church, it is necessary to know the purpose of the church. I believe the purpose of the church is to (1) Glorify God (Ephesians 3:21), (2) Build itself up in faith by instruction of the word and using spiritual gifts (2 Timothy 2:2,15), (3) Fellowship and keeping the ordinances (1 John 1:3; Acts 2:41-42), (4) To spread the gospel (Mathew 28:19).
I think success is measured with a combination of these. Most churches will emphasize one of these as more important. Usually it is evangelizing. They are so consumed by growth in numbers that they don’t build the congregation up. On the other hand, the church does have to grow. I prefer not to measure by numbers because other means other than the word of God can be the reason for attendance.
As for the individual, these same principles apply. A believer is to glorify God, study the word, use their spiritual gifts, fellowship and evangelize. Now if a believer measures their success by how many people accepted Christ when they witness it might not be that good. Does that mean that they are unsuccessful or presenting it wrong? Absolutely not. I found out three years after witnessing to someone who was an atheist that they now have accepted Christ. Results are not always immediate. I think the humanistic version of success has flooded over to the Christians’ view.
Monday, August 13, 2007 Labels: church, religion