Devotional Thought of the Day
Do this because you are a people set apart as holy to GOD, your God. GOD, your God, chose you out of all the people on Earth for himself as a cherished, personal treasure. GOD wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. GOD stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: GOD, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. Deuteronomy 7:6-9a (MSG)
Something similar has happened to us. With little effort we could find among our family, friends, and acquaintances—not to mention the crowds of the world—so many worthier persons that Christ could have called. Yes, persons who are simpler and wiser, more influential and important, more grateful and generous. In thinking along these lines, I feel embarrassed. But I also realize that human logic cannot possibly explain the world of grace. God usually seeks out deficient instruments so that the work can more clearly be seen to be his.
I have had it with the church statistics “experts”. The well intention men and women who tell churches that they have only a 25 year life cycle, that they are going to die and close their doors, and that this can be a good thing.
Or the men who say that the fastest growing churches, and the best return of investment is to plant new churches (even if they are only 2 miles from a healthy church. Who play around with statistics and charts and give advice and sell their coaching services. Whose advice becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as people believe them, and forget that ministry is not about statistics and what gives us the biggest bang for our buck. The new thought is that a church while it still has value should close, before it loses what value it has, in order that God would do something new somewhere else. (That line I have a problem with, because doing something new in scripture was about the cross and resurrection – the death of Christ – not his church)
We don’t “do” church in ways because of what makes sense in a business model. Statistics don’t governthe church, God does. Brooklyn Tabernacle was once a dead, tiny church, the American Baptist hcurches in Northern Calfiornia were once empty. My first church was under 20 in attendance. We do church because God calls us to minister to those who are broken, to reconcile people to them, to see their souls healed. We are there to pray for comfort and healing of the cancer patient, to remind the imprisoned that God hasn’t given up on them, to help people broken by divorce, or challenged by changes in their lives, or the past that haunts them.
Wo are the church to “do” grace, to be “grace”, to be the place where God incarnates, where he is revealed.
The church is something that can’t be reduced to statistics, or to methodologies. Because it isn’t about numbers, it is about life. It is about the supernatural invading and transforming the natural. It is about the power of God made clear as it transforms the lives of people who thought there was no hope.
What does beating the statistical models take? How can we avoid being another church which closes its doors?
It’s so simple that the experts can’t see it.
Know Christ! revel in His presence! Help people give to God the burdens and anxieties they carry. Plead with them to let God reconcile them! Teach them to treasure God’s time and presence. Fall in love with Him to the point where your heart beats in harmony with His.
It works, because God promised not to abandon us… but to work through us.
Abide in Him. And watch what He does … it is amazing!
Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). Christ is Passing By (Kindle Locations 424-429). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.