Wow. Am I about to embark on something so crazy at to measure the ministry of Jesus? Do I dare to put a rubric on the work of a saviour? Should I step into measuring the health and effectiveness of the life of Jesus. I dare not. Or at least not the way I would do it to my own ministry.
This is interesting. This is challenging. Why the conflict in my heart, in my mind, in my practice?
It seems strange to me that I feel this conflict. Yeah I’m sure you understand. Why do I not feel confident in trying to apply my ministry measurement standard up against the saviour of the world? Perhaps it’s because He stands so far ahead of us? Perhaps it’s an issue of my lack of faith or spirituality.
Or perhaps it’s because, in my heart and yours, we know that there is a tension between what we measure and what He measures. He is a sort of Spiritual Cardiologist, measuring our heart, yet we would much prefer Him to be a Spiritual Gym teacher, measuring how much we run.
Well my goal in writing is not to convince myself or others that we need to stop measuring spiritual activity. My goal revolves more around exposing some of my own weaknesses and bad habits as a leader in the church. My goal is to inspire thinking beyond my brain regarding how we measure success in church.
So, just for fun, let’s just evaluate a little about how Jesus did ministry with our typical church rubrics or measurements. Let’s do it for fun. If you don’t like fun, stop reading now! :). But if you want to be like a little child and enjoy playing a thinking game to expand yours, let’s strap on our thinking caps and play.
Top measurements or strategic Initiatives in churches 2018 😉
In this game, we will be giving the ministry of Jesus a review based on some top measurements or strategic thinking in our day of ministry. Play along.
Was He Scalable?
I believe that it’s very important to do things in ministry that are scalable. It’s important to build room for what God could do. I do believe that. There is good solid truth there. For me to build a playground with one swing in a neighbourhood with 500 children would be rather foolish. But to build a playground that can care for the needs of many is wise. We plan ahead. I love it. Let’s take a look at what Jesus did.
The other day I was reading my Bible. Way to go Brad. ;). I came across one of the stories where Jesus was feeding thousands of people. The set up you know. He sees the masses and has compassion on them. Fantastic. He asks his management team what was in the bank and petty cash fund.
Unfortunately, the resources He had were not very good. It was clear that according to scalability, He should not have talked to so many people that day. He was not planning well as we measure today.
But He was moved by compassion. I love that.
This is where I laughed as I read. I realized, in my ministry life, I would have called a quick prayer meeting, rallied my disciples and then sent them out like decapitated chickens to try to gather more food and volunteers to serve. I would have tweeted out, “The Lord needs your help NOW!!! #bringfood #kingdomservice #awesomeopportunity.
But that is not what Jesus did. First He didn’t scale right and then He didn’t rally the troops. He pulled food out of the air. I LOVE IT.
Takeaway, Jesus wasn’t scalable.
How did He do Leadership Development?
It is clear to the best leaders today that a key to leadership development is to find high capacity leaders that need a little development and then invest in them strategically so that we can get them in charge of Kingdom departments within the first few months. If they can’t handle that, they have no business being in leadership. 😉
We know that leadership is influence, so we find people who are influencers and influence them. That’s scalable leadership development.
So let’s look at the ministry of Jesus.
The Gospels say that He went to the temple to find the most influential and well spoken leaders of the day to bring mass change and deliver the Kingdom to a world starved for Hope. It says that He networked until He found those people that had character, competence and chemistry to work together to bring change.
Oh snap! I’m so wrong. LOL
Jesus did leadership development a little different than that.
First He spent most of his time out of the board room and in nature praying. He didn’t show up in the office, but instead went to the mountains every day, turned off His cell phone, and prayed. Then He came back and picked strange, low impact, low influencers to be His leadership team.
Secondly, they just hung out, living life together like it makes a difference or produces good numbers to bring back to the New Testament Board of Elders. 😉
Takeaway, Jesus didn’t do scalable leadership development and the development He did was spiritual.
What was His Attendance and Retention Stats?
Well I’m not sure I want to get started on this one. Here is where our 2018 models really differ from Jesus. So let’s just give a quick review and jump out of this fun game lest we become bitter. LOL
Sent away the Congregation.
Numerous times, we see Jesus send away the people or worse yet, sneak away. We see Him in larger crowds where He clearly has influence, but instead He choses to leave.
Rejected a top Influencers and primary giver.
Remember the rich young ruler????
I’m sorry but if Bill Gates came up to me to show Him leadership, and He asked me what he needed to do to inherit Eternal Life, I would probably say, walk with me for the next year and I will show you what it means to be a disciple. (Hopping of course that once I have his heart, I get his wallet too… for the Kingdom.) Bill if you are reading this, I’m joking but you are still super awesome. Love ya man… for you, not what you do.
But Jesus rejected the top influencer, and potential top giver. Wow. Dare I say if many of us did that in our churches, we would get a harsh talking to.
Turned away guaranteed ministry success.
Remember when the disciples came to Jesus and told Him about the low hanging fruit with guaranteed success. What did Jesus do? He said, I’m good, let’s leave town.
Wow. If many of our ministry leaders did that, we would tell them that they are burned out and that they should consider selling real estate as opposed to ministry.
Alright. Let’s evaluate. Don’t forget I was being a bit satirical above. NO mean emails!!!
It’s sobering to put our measurements upon Jesus. Please hear me, I’m not saying that these types of measurements are evil, I’m just saying that they need the right context. We need to be careful how we measure.
A last thought. Perhaps one of the most sobering thoughts I have had while reflecting on this issue is about what most churches in North America spend the majority of their treasure on.
Most of us spend the majority of our time and money on the rocky soil. An inch deep. What do I mean by that?
Our weekend services and experiences can easily attract rocky soil that takes the seed quickly with an affirmation of the day, but stops growing by Monday. We see a little sprout and then we plant another seed next week hoping that the soil gets richer and the hearts get softer. Maybe they do, but when I say it like this, I do have to give it a second thought.
What would it look like to invest deeper in the good soil. It would be easier and frankly more relaxing.
Let’s be honest before we go. Measurements are not bad. Let’s be really honest. Without the Spirit of God, we can’t measure hearts let alone report them to our elders. But we can work diligently to make sure that the measurements we use measure the things that are most important for Kingdom, not organization.