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Blog-Pastor-Dave What is Success #2 – Church

What is Success #2 – Church

4 minute Video version:

I proposed a definition for personal success. What about church success?

I asked our staff, elders, and governing board, “What does success look like for our church?”

A popular model of church success involves the ABCs – attendance, buildings, and cash. While not overlooking these, our church leadership teams gave much better, more thoughtful answers. Here’s what they said.

Success is . . .

• Looking like Jesus’ followers; others recognizing us as Christ followers.

• Strengthening our relationships with God and with others.

• Conversions to Christ; water baptisms.

• Making disciples; fulfilling the Great Commission.

• Reaching the unreached; bringing others to Christ.

• Experiencing God’s manifest presence.

• The unity of the Spirit.

• Being a church of all nations for all nations.

• Changed lives.

• Every seat is taken; standing room only.

• Walking with God in a daily quiet time, which brings maturity, enabling us to live out our faith in every way – our jobs, our giving, our parenting, and so on.

• Walking in obedience to God, in holiness, with Christian standards, as Spirit-filled Christ followers.

• Transitioning from serving me to serving God and others; joyful serving of volunteers.

• Not worrying about finances; a balanced budget.

• Receiving answers to prayer; everything by prayer.

• Everybody knows everybody; knowing one another on a deeper level.

• Doing all to the glory of God.

What a list! Which of these stand out to you? Three patterns I see in their reflections.

1. Success is more often intangible and harder to measure. (Unlike attendance, buildings, and cash, which are more visible, external, and easily counted.)

Charles Colson said, “It’s a dangerous and misguided policy to measure God’s blessing by standards of visible, tangible, material ‘success’.” Vance Havner added, “Visible success has never been the proof of Jesus or his followers.”

2. Success is often relational – walking closely with God, going deeper with God’s family, inviting others into fellowship with God.

Having somebody around who loves you, and having somebody around whom you love, is being the church.

3. Success is better understood from God’s perspective. Lloyd Cory said, “Doing God’s will may not always lead to increased popularity, sales, and profits. It didn’t in Bible days.”

How does God view our church? What does he perceive as success? Are we succeeding from God’s viewpoint? I think our leaders answer these questions well.

One elder summarized: the outside view of success – everybody is happy, every seat is taken, standing room only, great cash flow – versus the inside view of success – knowing God and being Christ’s disciples.

After all, being “approved by God” is real success (1 Thessalonians 2:4).

~ Pastor Dave



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