fighting from victory

I read a quote on my friend, and soon-to-be pastor’s, blog, Tim Degroot, that really hit me this morning.  He said:

We are not fighting for victory but from victory.

I don’t know about you but I tend to express the perspective that I need to work through things in order to gain some ground.  I feel that I sometimes don’t just have what it takes to do this project or save that person.  My mindset is often revolving around the concept that I have to fight for victory.

I am encouraged by Tim reminding me that I am more than a conqueror with Christ.  I am fighting not for victory but from victory.  The enemy has been defeated, right?

May we go ahead and take on a challenge that we believe God will bring to completion.  His word will not come back void.  Let us go out with that knowledge and from that, often-new, perspective.

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true measure of a man

If you are like me (and I hate that phrase), then you have struggled with giving of yourself. Especially when you don’t see any benefit to yourself.

Yet today, I read a quote that hit me in the gut concerning this.  The quote was from an 18th-century British author named Samuel Johnson and he said:

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

I tend to look for how things benefit me.  Call it smart.  Call it anything you want.  I know it’s selfishness.  I know that I want my life influence to increase and if I don’t get the credit or if I can’t see someone worthy of helping, then I pass them up.

It’s so sad but I am sure that many struggle with it also.  But I have a new call on my life.  I am a follower of Christ and he served everyone everywhere.  So today, may we go and do the same.

mentors

I have had many mentors over the years.

I had one who taught me how to read the Scriptures.
One who taught me the basics of personal finances.
One who simply was an encouragement in all facets of life.
One who taught me how to write songs as well as find great music to lead the Church with.
One who showed me so many books to read that I could not even begin to read through them all.
One who simply taught me how to lead my family.

And yet like Steven Furtick, at the beginning of my walk with God, I wanted to have one guy to look up to and mentor me.  I wanted an idol, I guess you could say.

But I realized that no one person had it all.  Each and everyone of us have our flaws and we all can’t do everything perfect so we all need mentors everywhere.  And as Furtick said, “Maybe we should stop trying to find everything from one person and start looking for one thing from every person.”

One thing from each person to teach you.
Take this further and start every conversation by asking “What is the one thing that you want me to learn from you before we leave today?

I have done this with sermons for years now and I am trying to do it with people too.  Not that I can’t learn more than one thing, but one thing is the minimum and that is enough to get through the next few hours.  So go out and find as many mentors as you can and ask them about the one thing that they can teach you now.

the measure of a church 3

There are many ways to look at the growth of a church but so many times, we simply focus on the numbers gathered in one little service, one hour a week.

This should not be so.  Numbers are not everything.  There are other ways to measure a church.  Here are my final thoughts on it this week:

I wish to start with a quote because I love quotes and because they sum up a lot of my thoughts on measuring a church accurately.  Jim Cymbala says “What a tragedy that the quality of ministry is too often measured by numbers and building size rather than by true spiritual results.”

This is so often the case in my eyes because when I look at or hear about a church, I ask “how many people go there?” or “how many are coming to that service?”.  This should not be.  Most of the times that I have grown in significant ways were not through a crowd.  It was usually through a conversation.  Or a book.  Or through some prayer by myself or in a small group.  In fact, I believe that sometimes a crowd can hinder spiritual growth if we aren’t careful.

I have been trying to balance what God wants out of my life.  I like the big gatherings.  I thrive on them.  In some ways, I might say that I need them (not spiritually but as a way of encouragement) because I am a worship leader and I wish to sing out to God with all the believers I can on a weekly basis.  I also love listening to messages given by a great speaker where he simply expounds the Scriptures for an hour with some great insights and stories.  This is something I like.  I love going to church with anticipation and excitement because God is going to do something among us that He didn’t necessary do all week.  And in some ways, I might say that I need the entertainment of a service to strengthen me for a week of hardship.

But on the other hand, I love the smallness of church.  The relationships built on intimacy and interaction.  I thrive on the small because this is where God does most of His work.  I could go without the big gathering but I could never forsake the small.

So numbers don’t matter if you are simply trying to cram as many people into a high school auditorium as you can.  But numbers matter when you care about each individual and seek to have them find that connection to God and His Word and how that will affect our world.

Let me encourage to look at how you measure a church and see if you are ready to do so accurately and biblically.

Here are some closing questions for you:

  1. How do you measure the ability of your church to reach this world?
  2. What do you believe makes a church successful?
  3. How might you alter this to make it a more biblical approach?
  4. What would you say that Jesus’ characteristics of a great church would be?

the measure of a church 2

There are many ways to look at the growth of a church but so many times, we simply focus on the numbers gathered in one little service, one hour a week.

This should not be so.  Numbers are not everything.  There are other ways to measure a church.

Yesterday, I stated that I was going to try and write about some ways to measure growth that is not based on numbers.

Here are my initial thoughts:

  1. Measure the percentage of people in small groups rather than how many come into a service. I believe this is the most important one simply because if you are sharing your life with others, it is hard to get over the fact that this is your  family.  You serve with those you love and this is a great first step toward making progress for the Kingdom.
  2. Look at how many conversations happen outside of Sunday morning about God’s work. This one is not really easy to count out but you can tell if people have shared their struggles as well as encourage others if you simply pay attention a little bit more.
  3. Gander at how many people are being faithful in their giving. In our country, some say it is not good to look at people’s finances because it is OUR thing, but many times this is the best way to tell where someone’s heart is.
  4. Focus on the lives being changed, rather the seats being occupied. Who do you see in your ministry who is making a move toward the advancement of God’s mission?  Look at how far people have come and then count your ministry blessed.
  5. Numbers do matter. Numbers do matter simply because people matter.  Each life changed is another reason to rejoice so we should set aside a time to celebrate what God is doing in our communities of faith.  Have a party.  Bake a cake.  Go all out for these.  Count the salvations and baptisms.  One word of caution: prepare for the harvest and do that you can to see people come closer to Christ each day, but don’t obsess over them.  Obsess over loving others.

Tune in tomorrow for a little more thoughts on this topic.

the measure of a church

There are many things that are taking shape in my life right now and I am very excited about all of them but the most productive work for me is going to soon be helping a new church plant.

I will be working in the form of The Everything Guy.  I will be playing some music, leading some youth, working on some communications and promotions, organizing some finances and spreadsheet stuff, as well as doing some good old fashion discipleship.

But I am most concerned with trying to build a ministry.  And I honestly don’t care about the numbers.  I have had a couple different conversations recently with people who have planted a church and they have said unanimously that in order to build a church, you must not focus on building the church, but building a lifetime of experiences on God.  I like this.  I can catch onto this.

But I can’t really measure it out in my mind.  So, this week, I am going to try and write about some ways that you can measure growth in a church if you try and not look at the numbers.

It is not going to be definitive by any standard.  But I am going to search my heart and figure out ways that I am trying to alter how I look at the success of my community of faith.

my advice for today

I’m sure you are aware that life gets busy sometimes.

I just have some encouragement for you to take each day slowly and find some joy in all of it.

I don’t know the secret to life but I do know that it doesn’t consist of busyness and monotony.  So I will take that to mean that it is filled with the sacred and the spontaneous.

So today, go off and do something you haven’t done before.  Or at least do something you usually have to do but do it in a new way.

That’s my advice for today.