Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Know the Scorecard


Important Question that must be answered : How does Jesus define ministry success?

In a world where us ‘pastors’ rate our success on the size of our congregations, buildings, staff, budgets (hey I’m just trying to be real here) it was good to be reminded again by my mate and pastor David Putman that what we see as ‘success’ may not necessarily line up with what Jesus see’s as ‘success.’ Everyone knows that if you don’t know what you’re aiming at you sure won’t hit it. This is the same with ‘following Jesus.’ Are you taking the time to stop and listen to what your Leader is telling you to do???

A Positive Example : Willow Creek and the REVEAL report.

Now before I go any further, I have to confess that it was Bill Hybels who God used to lay the foundational burden for leadership in my life. I remember the day well, my girlfriend was with me (Nerida) and we were transfixed as Billy preached from Luke 15 and ‘bleed’ about the desperate need for missional church leaders. It was a ‘catalyst’ moment in our lives and I really honor and look up to Hybels for his humble, committed, faithfulness to Jesus over his lifetime. God has certainly used him and I personally know many godly pastors and leaders who’ve been encouraged and influenced by Bill’s gifts and leadership. That’s what made his recent acknowledgement in REVEAL all the more ‘gutsy.’ Bill openly said that for all Willow Creek Church’s ‘success’ it was failing to really succeed when compared to what Jesus’ scorecard. Sure ‘Willow’ had fantastic facilities, staff second to none and one of the biggest growing evangelical congregations in the world, the only problem was ‘Willow’ just wasn’t cutting it when it came to growing “fully devoted followers of Jesus.”

Shorthand – they had a multitude of ‘stuff’ and people… great! One problem… the vast majority of the crowd wasn’t going on and becoming ‘mature’ followers of Jesus. Now admitting that is true leadership and it is took real guts. I love it when leaders man up and confront the brutal facts, cause it has to be done – regularly or you’re leading your team out the back door.

Don’t get me wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with buildings, staff and big churches, in fact I believe there is much right about them (that’s another blog). But bottom line for me as I hear Jesus the win for his church and success for His followers, is found in two simple areas:
1. First He says, “You (yes you) – you, follow me.” Daily we need to ask ourselves am I? Really? I mean really?
2. Then He says, “As we go, your life is be used to lead others to follow me.”
Simple? Profound? Radical? Earth changing? Sure, that’s the Jesus way. It’s a mission Jesus is calling us all to get involved with. He is committed to us, we’re a ‘project’ that takes a lifetime, but following Him reaps uncalculated rewards both now and in eternity.

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