How can you tell if the Titans win a game?
It’s pretty simple. There’s a giant scoreboard at the stadium. (Actually, there’s something like 4 of them!) If the number on the “Titans” row is bigger than the number on the other row at the end of the game, the Titans won.
How can you tell if a church is “winning”? Don’t let the term “winning” throw you off. How can you tell if a church is successful at doing what God wants it to do? How can you tell if a church is faithful and healthy? How can you tell if a church is being as effective as she can possibly be?
There’s not an obvious scoreboard, is there? In fact, the game isn’t over until He returns. So the outcome of a particular congregation is always up in the air. But some of the signs people use a lot give us a false indication about the score. Attendance numbers do mean something—but just having a lot of people in a building isn’t a sign of success. Seems that I remember someone doing pretty well with just twelve. Contribution numbers mean something. But money in the account is a better measure for a mortgage company than for a hospital for the sick. The numbers on the back wall can’t tell us whether or not we are doing what God wants us to do.
The mission of the church, by Jesus’ own instruction, is to make disciples. That’s more than just bringing people to Christ. A board with a count of baptisms might tell us something, but even that would miss part of the picture. Our mission is not just to bring people to Christ; our mission is to help people become like Christ.
“Number of People in Whom Christ is Formed More Fully this week” is probably a little long for that wooden board in the back of the auditorium. And it’d probably be hard to figure out how to put a number on it, anyway. But if we are making steps towards forming Christ in ourselves and in those we love—we are winning at what really matters.