Thursday, April 7, 2016

Where's The Measuring Tape?

Matthew 16:18
........."I will build my church".

Psalm 127:1
Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted.

Somehow, I really believe that God is the one who builds the church. Not me.
Oh, I can implement programs and set an agenda, and even do it His name.
But such a church would be built on human effort and concepts rather than the leading of the Holy Spirit.

There is one question that comes up from time to time that I am asked, and I hate it. Don't get me wrong, the question usually comes from well meaning people who are interested in what's going on at VRC. What is the dreaded question? "How's your church doing?" How do you answer such a question? I know what the answer is that the person who asked the question is looking for. I know that the American measurement for churches is "How many people come to your meetings?" And "How big is your budget?"
Or as a fellow pastor used to put it...."It's all about the Nickles and the Noses". What should be the measurement for a churches success? Or should we even go about measuring our churches? 

Number #1 is the simple fact that church = people. If someone mentions the word church, and the first thing that comes up in your mind is a building, you've missed the point.
Church is flesh and bone gathered to worship God.

Church is fluid and comes together at different times during the week, only to move out like the evening tide to their respective homes and communities.
Church is people.
That being the case, maybe the only measurement (if we won't to do such) is to be the quality of people that is produced through the gatherings.

Do the people who gather at church love Jesus?
Are they falling more and more in love with Him?
Are they really following Him in their daily lives?
Are they feeding the hungry?
Are they helping the poor?
Are they telling their story to others?
Are they hungry to read and study His Word?

Do they walk in this manner during the week when they are away from the meetings?
That is the measurement of a church.
Do we live the way Jesus has commanded us to?
Do others see Jesus in us?

I have no desire for them to see a Vineyard Jesus.
I won't the real-deal Jesus we read about in Scripture to the one they see in me.

To be a part of a group of folks who live like this would be the goal or way of life I would want to be a part of.

Now don't get me wrong.....
With any building process, there will be messes. There will be problems. There will be hurt feeling and a desire to pull away from such. But there is also great forgiveness that is given and should be returned by those who are a part of such a project. You see, to me a church is never finished when God is building it. There are always old things, old habits, old behaviors, and old thoughts that have to be replaced with new ones. The one thing I am most grateful for in my own life, is that even though I've grown older I still have a passion to chase after Jesus. This chasing involves seeing myself as I really am. But more than this, I see myself as Jesus sees me which isn't always very pretty. In other words, I am a work in progress.  

So I thing the next time someone asks me, "How your church doing?" I'll simply say, "We're a work in progress". 
Thanks for letting me share.

God on you...


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