I am in an ever-continuing process of discovering and addressing the missional context of our ministry. This is basically an attempt to be effective in connecting the people that we serve with the message that God has for them. Believe it or not, this is a very consuming effort in which I have invested years.
Let me provide some context. We need to know that what we are doing works. If it does not work, we need to adjust. By “work”, I mean “are we developing Christ-followers?” Are our efforts resulting in spiritual awakening and growth in the lives of the people around us? If not, I am responsible to figure out why not and to do something about it. If our church is not successful at making disciples of Christ, we are failing.
So I am measuring. Using the scriptures as our scale, I am weighing out the spiritual development of the people who are under the influence of our ministry. The Bible details some basic non-negotiables when it comes to discipleship. It is daunting task to boiling down the entire Bible to come up with a list of essential Christian behaviors. I dare not assume this role. But I will point out a few of the basic things taught in scripture that certainly reveal the heart of a true follower of Jesus Christ. In other words: if we are doing these things, there is a good chance that we are serious about our relationship with Jesus. If we are not, we are not.
Basic Christian activities:
Prayer. If our prayer life is not solid and we are not growing in our communication with God, we will not be making progress as a Christian.
Bible reading. If we do not read God’s Word, we cannot know what He says. If we do not know what He says, we are doomed to be disobedient.
Worship – both personal and corporate. If we do not love God enough to worship him at church with other believers and in the privacy of our homes, we are not getting closer to Him.
Service. If we are not serving God and others, making a difference and sharing and showing the love of God to others, the Spirit of Christ is not growing in us.
Giving. If we do not share what we have, we are more controlled by the spirit of the world than we are the Spirit of God.
Of course, there are many additional concepts that could be included, but we have to begin somewhere.
So, using these basic activities as a foundation, I ask: Am I making disciples of Jesus?
My response: Not many, not enough. On a good day, I’d give myself a C-.
So I am beginning to work on a change of expectation. I am not sure what this looks like yet. I don’t know what the final outcome will be. But I know for sure that I have to do a better job in getting people connected and committed to Christ. I am hopeful for some measurable progress sooner rather than later.