Monday, April 27, 2009

'What Does Success Look Like in Your Church?

When you look at your church and its core values how would you define success?
How would you compare the success of your church values with the priorities of Jesus and the teachings of scripture? One place to evaluate success in the local church is to examine the priorities of Jesus and the New Testament writers.
Another way to evaluate Biblical success is to study the lives of people in the Old Testament who were considered pleasing and favored of God. Scripture points to two specific areas that make a person pleasing to God in the Old Testament.
1. The first is having 'a heart after God', 1 Sa 13:14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command." NIV.
2. The second is obedience to God's Word. 1 Sam 15:22 Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Jesus also came 'to do the will of the Father' powered by the Holy Spirit. In fact Phil 2:5-11 says that Jesus humbled or emptied Himself. 'Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

He operated by the Fathers authority and the Holy Spirit's power so that he would be the perfect model for us.
Jn 17:4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.
Mt 3:16-17: 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

The next two places we need to look are the commands of Jesus and teachings of the Apostles.
1. First, to continue His work by making disciples of all nations. Mt 28:19-20, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
2. Second, to equip God's people. Eph 4:11-13, And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

If you evaluate what you are doing and compare it with these verses, how is your church doing?
1. Is the next generation of leaders flourishing among us or is it being driven away or held in captivity to our old ways of doing things?
2. Are we doing as we are commanded and making, equipping and releasing into leadership the next generation of disciples on a continual basis?
3. Are we following the model of Paul and continuing our relationship as partners and co-laborers with the next generation of leaders as we release them to lead and make disciples of all nations.
4. Are we willing to allow God to work among us in fresh and creative new ways?

What We Need To Do
1. Allow them their vision and their God inspired methods.
2. Remember that new wine needs new wineskins!
3. Cooperate with God as He raises up young Davids and Debras. They should be doing Great exploits for God and not be relegated to assignments that do not match their gifts and passion.
4. We should not be seeking to use old wineskins and worldviews to contain the new wine of the Spirit as God seeks to work in this multigenerational and multicultural world.

Can it be said of us that we are equipping the next generation to do great and mighty things and become men and women of valor as they do the will of the Father, empowered by the Holy Spirit in our world today?


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