“Encouraging people to discover a deeper, stronger connection to Jesus Christ that leads to life at its very best”
That phrase captures the uniqueness of the work God calls us to do at Asbury UMC. It doesn’t give all the details, that’s true, but it does give us a real sense of what we’re about. There is only one real problem with this vision – it’s not easy to measure.
That vision doesn’t automatically lead to an increase in people sitting in the seats on Sunday morning – but we expect it would. That vision doesn’t necessarily coincide with more people serving their neighbors in the community around us – but we believe it should. However, while we believe we will see increases in such easily measurable categories, the measurement of those categories is not the best measurement of the vision.
If we want to measure what matters, and measure what we want to see change, then it’s not attendance and activity that really matters. Measuring those things won’t necessarily indicate a faithfulness and diligence in accomplishing the vision God has given us. I tell people all the time that I can get more people in the door – beer and barbecue. We might even be able to talk people into doing good work around our community. But neither one of those increases says we’re helping people discover a deeper, stronger connection to Jesus Christ.
Here’s what the Apostle Paul says that might give us the things to measure:
…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Now the challenge is how to measure such things. There is only one way I know – be a witness to them. The way we know people are growing is to be connected to people and encourage them to grow in these ways. The only way anyone knows that I am growing deeper and stronger in my connection with Jesus Christ is for me to talk to them about where I am now and ask them to watch my life. It’s another reason our relationship to other believers is so essential.
Measuring what matters is important, but the things God, through Paul, tells us are important cannot be indicated on a year-end report. These are things that cannot be communicated by numerical scales or rankings. Maybe the lesson is that numbers are not always the best things to look at when we measure faithfulness and effectiveness. Numerical counts may have their place but let’s keep them in their place.
That’s my perspective. Do you agree?
Do numbers matter to you?
How would you measure a “deeper, stronger connection with Jesus Christ”?
Holy high-five to you,