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How Do We Measure Up as a Church Making Disciples?

posted Nov 1, 2016, 2:51 PM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Nov 1, 2016, 9:19 PM ]

The start of November is Reformation day on November 1, then All Saints Sunday on November 6. Reformation Sunday is about a change in church ideology, in reforming old church ideas and concepts, and looking at how we measure ourselves in staying true to the Scriptures and the Gospel of Christ!  All Saints Sunday is about all the Saints of the church who have gone before us all.  We someday will all be counted as the saints of the church in faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.  So that got me thinking on how do we measure a church's health:  Are we making Saints for the future?

You know those of us who do computer work; we have a love/hate relationship with data.  Even as big data shapes almost all our online experiences, we're not so sure how we feel  about data "stuff" in the life of the church.

Yes, we count worship services, offerings, worship attendance, small group ministries, baptisms and confirmations.  But deep down inside, we resist measuring ourselves.  I suspect it's because we fear we can't measure up.  Maybe some of you folks have seen me wear my measuring tape suspenders when I go to Prison Ministry.  Because, after all, NONE OF US measure up!

I get it.  Measuring ourselves is hard.  I experience that every time I step on the scale.  If my weight is high, I'm bummed.  Paradoxically, my response is to want to eat more.  On the other hand, if it's low, I take it as license to indulge.  I'm stuck either way.  Data shmata.

Jesus said, "You shall know me by my fruits."  What fruits are we as a church producing?  In the United Methodist Church, we proclaim that we are making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  That sounds like a Mission Statement, doesn't it?

There's only one way to know if we are accomplishing our vision or not.  We have to measure ourselves.  I know what your're thinking:  data shmata.  Who cares about the numbers?  You can't measure what churches do.  You can't measure the growth of a soul or the impact of a sermon.  I say if we're not willing to measure ourselves, we're not serious about our vision.

For instance, can you imagine Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, practicing without a timer?  OR Simone Biles, who is four-time Olympic gold medalist and the first African American to win the world all-around gymnastics title, which she did in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, executing moves without a judge?  Is it even conceivable that Usain Bolt would, well bolt, without clocking his speed?  They count on that information to guide their performance.

The next few weeks are coming up to Thanksgiving.  With many family blessings, I don't want to be a sad-sack, for we have a church with many positive aspects of a congregation, but what about the Saints of the future?  Who is going to fill the pews of the future?

That is our calling now as Disciples of go out and make Disciples in all the nations, and just around the corner from where we live, to tell them of the Love of God, That's Jesus, That's the Holy Spirit. To tell them that the blessings they reap are Blessings from our Holy Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

That is one way of going out to all the world, to make Disciples of all nations, telling them of the Love of Jesus Christ.  That should be your story to all the world and just around the corner of your own world.....that Jesus Christ saves.  That is the Good News for all to hear in all seasons of the year!


Pastor Jim Brown