Should you count those who come into your church, or count those who leave and spread God’s love.
Until he moved on to become president of the Southern Baptist International Missions Board, David Platt was pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, a mega-member congregation in Birmingham, Alabama. His ministry there—and now in his new position—has always been focused on the fulfillment of Jesus’ Great Commission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
In an interview with Outreach magazine during the time he was at Brook Hills, Platt was asked, “Do you use “numbers” to gauge your success in disciple-making?” His response was, I believe, instructive for any and all of us who take Jesus’ words seriously. He said,“Numbers count to us because people count to us. However, we no longer gauge our success by the numbers of people coming in to worship with The Church at Brook Hills. Instead, we look at the number of people who are leaving our building to impact the world with their individual lives. Our success is gauged by how many people are abandoning their lives to make disciples of all nations.”
In this season of resolving to do things differently, it’s something to think about!
Jesus also said that “those who lose their life for [his] sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will find it” (Mark 8:35). So the key question becomes, how much of our life together as a congregation, and our individual lives as church members, are we willing to “abandon” in order to do what Jesus commands? How much life are we willing to give up so that others may find new life in Jesus?
If we measure all that we are and do by that standard, and make adjustments accordingly, what will this congregation look like? How will we function? What will we accomplish? How will Jesus judge us?
In this season of resolving to do things differently, it’s something to think about! Pastor Tom