Measuring What Matters
In the Christian life, how do you measure a fully surrendered life to Jesus? It’s not based on the amount of times you attend church, go on a mission trip, or even the amount of money you give. Those things are all very important. Believe me, I love to see people in worship on a regular basis. Those elements of the Christian life are means to the end. To grow to becoming more like Jesus, we need a way to tell if we’re bearing fruit.
Think about a farmer who sows seed. As Jesus described in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8, he doesn’t count the amount of seed he sows. In fact, he scatters seed everywhere. He does pay close attention to the soil. Only one fourth of the soil yields a harvest, some hundreds of times. That’s what he measures—the results or outcomes of all the work he did to scatter seed.
In a business, we can easily measure profits, losses, investments, and trends. In the kingdom of God, we measure the ways that people convert to Jesus, give their hearts to the Lord, how families change. The standard metrics of business don’t compute to the bottom line of church discipleship.
In our strategic planning process, we listened to our deacons, staff, leaders, and church. We discovered that we do a lot of great work of scattering seed, but we also want to be just as focused on the fruit of the harvest. In our plan, we call these objectives, but these are the things we want to measure over the next five years in our lives. Keep in mind that all of us are at different places along the journey, and not all of us will be good at every one of these areas. We think that people who show these things in their lives are also believers who will reach people for Jesus.
Over the next five years, we have 20 measurements of a growing, faithful follower of Jesus at First Baptist. We want to measure the ways we:
- Invite people into a saving relationship with Jesus.
- Increase our practice of spiritual disciplines.
- Deepen our understanding of core biblical beliefs.
- Demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.
- Help members find a place to fit, develop friendships, and feel the care of the congregation.
- Inform others about our church.
- Communicate Christ’s message to Tallahassee.
- Equip men and women to serve in leadership in the congregation.
- Use spiritual gifts to build the body of Christ.
- Accept roles in community ministries and service opportunities.
- Serve in places of work and study.
- Commission people to mission service and train people in vocational ministry.
- Engage households in family Bible study, mission service, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines together.
- Care for individuals and families in crises and need.
- Strengthen marriages.
- Describe and demonstrate strong homes for our community.
- Participate with other churches and organizations.
- Adopt, foster, and shelter children in need.
- Engage in racial reconciliation.
- Increase our ministry with college students and internationals.
Imagine for a moment what it would be like to attend a Bible study that asked us how we cared for someone this week. That’s not hard to do. It happens many Sundays. What if the committees you were a part of considered how their work used people’s spiritual gifts and strengthened the homes and marriages in our church and community? What would happen if we celebrated at the end of the year how the Spirit led us to deepen our beliefs and deal with our prejudice toward another person? Wow. That would be a harvest. That would be another measurement of God’s grace.