Here is a link to a recent USA Today article. I guess in my anti-news bias I clearly hear the digs against missions, instead of a clear message of what good kingdom work is being done.
However, I will agree that all short-term missions require good managment and training. As someone who has gone to the same area repeatedly, I would hate to find you are servicing the same needs over and over again and ignoring others. Or as stated in the article, you are “saving” the same kids many times. So we as stewards need to know the area we are going to, to the best of our ability. We also need to find good organizations which are truly following God and seeking His will and finding all the needs, not just the easy or the greatest reward for us.
There has been a recent verbal conversation I have had with several people about how to define success in a church. Is it always growth in numbers? Is it spiritual growth, but how do you measure that? It seems we get into a trap of comparison with other churches here too. They have built a new building before us or a bigger building. Or they added on before we did. And then we wonder what they are doing and what we aren’t. Do we need to copy it.
Here is a thought from my youth pastor friend in Colorado Springs. His church is in the city, so he has some more urban issues to deal with than our traditional Jo Co church. I told him about our conversation about defining success in a church and asked for his thoughts. Here they are:
“Success” in ministry is an interesting situation.
I think there are seasons in ministry. Sometimes there is incredible harvest in terms of reaching new people for Christ. This youth ministry went from 50 to 180 in about 2 years; that was right before I came. Then the realization set in that we had a lot of students who needed to be discipled; so we weren’t so worried about growing the numbers because we had to deepen and grow spiritually those students we already had. For me, just getting a student through high school can be considered a
I thought the ‘seasons’ comment made perfect sense. It isn’t all about numbers, but we have to be able to recognize where we are at any given time.
Here is a view on the not side. I know some have read up a bit on Brian McLaren. I have only read a little and agree to the points of having healthy and open discussion. So I am anxious to hear some thoughts on this:
Along the lines of change, how do spark a culture change – specifically a Revival in a church? What does it really take? I know the obvious answer of prayer and a few dedicated people. But what if the church is not revival minded? There is no special emphasis placed there, no special event or time of year. How do you take a good church to a great church? I have heard recently how we might not want to do something then because it is hard to get people to church on ‘other’ nights. ‘Other’ being not a Sunday or a Wednesday. Why?
I don’t want a church so legalized we go to church just because it is church, it’s open and that is what we do. I want to be a part of a congregation that is so God-only, Christ-first and Spirit-led that we are looking for the next opportunity to serve, witness or worship our awesome Creator and Lord. What legacy do we want to pass on to the next generation? One where God is #1 when we can fit Him in or He is #1 and we can fit other things in too?
I am ready for a Revival. R U?