Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What Makes A Church Successful?

Compass personality theory suggests that achievement and failure are best seen in a dynamic rhythm, a rhythm worth assessing by every pastoral staff and church.

Churches are tempted to measure achievement solely by attendance: if lots of people show up for services, then the church has achieved success.

But has it? What is success for a church? What is achievement? And what is failure? 

How does Christ view achievement and failure? Churches may need periodic prayer and soul-searching for pastoral staff and congregations to discern the Lord’s intentions for their church.

Here are some observations from the perspective of compass theory.

In his earthly life, Jesus reveals two overriding concerns: 
  1. His own faithful witness to the Father and attunement to the Spirit.
  2. The maturing of his disciples in terms of personality and relationships.
Given this emphasis, it is likely that Christ, as head of the church, sees church achievement in terms of how well people are learning to love God and others as they love themselves, and how they are progressing in transformation of personality and relationships in Christlike ways.  

Failure would manifest itself as a loss of fidelity to the Trinity, and an apathetic attitude toward conversion and transformation.

One sees these rhythms of achievement and failure reflected in the ups and downs of Peter, James, and John:
The joy they felt on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Mount of Transfiguration
The shame when they fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Garden of Gethsemane

Church members, too, who seek to follow Jesus in their humanness, can expect times of fatigue and discouragement in rhythm with times of rejuvenation and celebration

Those of us in pastoral service do well to recall Paul's words:
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9).
For more, read:

Christian Personality Theory

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