Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Healthy Numbers For A Sunday of Ministry

When I go to the Doctor, they always take my pulse and blood pressure.  These are two quick measures that relate to my health.  So what are the measures of church health?  What are the “metrics of ministry?”

Most people look quickly to attendance and giving because they are pretty straightforward to measure and do say something about church health.  But everyone agrees that by themselves, “noses and nickels” are ineffective and incomplete measures of what real health is for the Body of Christ.

Southern Baptists were famous for counting Sunday School attendance rather than membership or worship attendance.  This gets closer to a measure of health, because Sunday School classes typically have a stronger relationship component than the worship service.

If I could get an accurate measure of two things, I would be most interested in each person’s depth of “Interactive Relationship with God” and “Living by Gospel Grace.”  I’m not sure I can aptly measure that in my own life – beware of self-deception – much less the life of anyone else, but you get my picture.  If those two roots are healthy, I’m thinking that a number of other “fruit” – prayer, Bible reading, giving, service, evangelism – would flow from them.

So, I’m not sure I’m closer to an adequate measure of church health for Christ Covenant, but I’ll tell you three numbers that I am celebrating from yesterday, August 18: 3, 29 and 115.

3 Baptisms – What a joy to share with three young men making public profession of Christ as we baptized them in the Rappahannock River.

29 Volunteers – I took a minute to add up the number of people who served in some way to make ministry at Christ Covenant happen yesterday.  Twenty-Nine People!  There were 29 people who volunteered in some way to make three events happen - our Morning Worship Service, Feeding the Homeless in Fredericksburg with New Generation Outreach and the Baptism Service in the Rapahhanock.  That is hands on service.  I couldn’t picture doing ministry apart from the Good News of the Gospel of Grace and without the  wonderful, broken, gospel-hungry, in-process, servant-hearted people of Christ Covenant.

115 Meals – We served about 115 meals to homeless people and families in partnership with New Generation Outreach yesterday.  The Gospel sets us free from ourselves and sends out to the needs of others.  I’m glad we could take this small step in that direction.

Here’s another number from yesterday that I am celebrating: “a bunch.”  That’s the number of Christ Covenant kids splashing around in the puddles of Old Mill Park at the Baptism Service.  Whenever our kids are safe, loved and having fun, I’m thinking we’ve got something to celebrate.

I’ll count the “noses and nickels” later this week, but for now, I’m a thankful church planter.

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