Success vs. Faithfulness

The church I’m now going to is young – not in the ages of the attenders (well, that too) – young in the sense that it hasn’t been a church for every long. This might sound crazy, but that’s one of the things I like most about it. I like it because I’ve gotten to hear people talk about the “vision” they have (I hate the word “vision”. It’s such a mega-church word) for the future. One of the things I loved that Pastor Pete said in a recent sermon was about how the goal of a church should not be success or numbers… the goal is always faithfulness.

I loved that.

Of course I’ve been pretty passionate annoyingly persistent in writing about this very thing lately (remember that post about brand vs. body?)

And I think that Pete was right on with the way he said it, because what he said was so much more God-centered than the debate usually is. Usually, people just pick one of two sides – the “We’re hoping to impact our city, then the state, then the world (Remember Howard Dean? We’re going to Arizona, then Utah, North Dakota, Nebraska, Tennessee, then…) because we want to see thousands tens of thousands of people transformed by our church every day!” OR “We’re seeking to humbly worship God and don’t care a lick about numbers.”

I think there’s a truth nugget and an unfortunate arrogance to both sides. Both are snobs seeking success (because they love God and want to be a good church – see the nugget?): they just define success differently.

Seeking to be faithful is way better than both of the above philosophies; it’s awesome because it doesn’t prescribe a plan that may contradict God’s plan for a specific body of believers.

Here’re some quotes from Francis Chan’s book Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit:

“The benchmark for success in church services has become more about attendance than the movement of the Holy Spirit (15).

“We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Holy Spirit,” (18).

Just some things I’ve been thinking about lately. šŸ™‚


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