Whenever pastors get together it isn’t long before the question is asked, “So…how are things going in your church?”
Often that question is answered something like this; “Oh, great! Attendance is up 12% year over year and giving is up 19%!” But in a sense, this is like answering the question, “How are things going in your family?” by saying, “Oh, great! We’ve added 50% more children and our household income is up 19%!”
One way more and more Christian leaders are finding to provide a more meaningful way to look at the life of their congregation is through REVEAL. In today’s guest post, Lee Powell, Senior Pastor of Cedar Creek Church in Perrysburg, Ohio, explains how this has been so valuable a tool for his church.
The following post is from http://wcagls.blogspot.com
I have spent the past week pouring over our church’s 2011 REVEAL survey results. I believe that within them is information that will be helpful as we continue to live out our mission.
For my past twenty five years of ministry I have pursued two passions: first, helping those who are far from Christ understand there is a community of people who can help them find their way to Him, and second, helping the already-convinced grow in depth and intimacy with God.
The first pursuit has seemed easier to measure than the second. We have strategically surveyed our weekend attenders to determine how often they attended church prior to attending CedarCreek. For the past 15 years, 45% of responders have consistently answered “less than once a month,” which has helped us quantify our mission of reaching spiritually restless and unchurched people. In addition, our baptism wall is filled with pictures and personal stories of conversion from young and old, many of who had little or no church experience, and who encountered Jesus via CedarCreek Church. This is my favorite place in our building. What an exciting and humbling experience to be a part of.
The second pursuit is equally important. Jesus was clear that we are to create disciples that understand and live in obedience to our King and his mission. But this passion is much more difficult to measure. How can one really know the spiritual temperature of another?
It can be so easy to mask, fake, cover and hide the broken realities of our internal world. And if you are like me, you have spent hours debating, wrestling with, and burdened by the mandate to help the already convinced move forward spiritually.
One encouraging discovery REVEAL identified was how willing the people at CedarCreek are to “give their life away.” This reminds me of the catalytic importance of inspiring and challenging people to give their time and resources away for the good of transforming their city for the sake of God.
That is the reason why this weekend; we are hosting Gary Haugen, President of International Justice Mission (…you may remember Gary from his incredible message at the Global Leadership Summit). He is not a pastor. He spends most of his time in the professional world freeing people from the injustice of sex trafficking. And even though most of our people may never get close to the work that the International Justice Mission does, Gary’s story is an inspiring example of how God can use us when we give our life to Him.
I believe our people deeply want to be connected with God’s mission. I believe they intellectually buy into the mission Jesus invites us into within the Great Commission. However, sometimes they need new voices to inspire and challenge them to take one more step forward. Gary has an amazing story of God’s redemptive work. He is an inspiring example of what it means to give your life away, even under the threat of death. Our prayer is that he challenges our people to take one more step towards putting Christ at the center of their life in all they do.