Are We a Result Driven Church?
Are you an efficiency junkie? Are you constantly trying to figure out a better or faster way to accomplish a certain task. I remember when I was a teenager mowing lawns, I would constantly try out a different pattern to take less time on a yard. We do this in our workplaces as well. It’s part of business, right? We have to be better, faster, and smarter than our competition in order to advance ourselves or meet our goals. While, a lot of the time this can be a great motivating drive, sometimes it can make us cut corners or lose track of the reasonings behind what we are trying to accomplish and instead focus solely on the goal.
This business type of ideology has impacted the church. We are always looking for results and the most efficient way to get there. Now, let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with efficiency in the church, but efficiency over Bible is a totally different matter. When we compromise the compassion of Christ for the sake of efficiency we can become legalistic and focus only on the end goal.
The goal of the church according to Jesus in His last words to the disciples in the Gospel of Matthew is to make other disciples. That’s the goal. So many today have been thinking how can we measure this and be efficient in how we make disciples. I believe this line of thinking truly comes from a desire to honor Christ, but there’s also a big problem with this idea. There is no marker that truly shows whether one is a disciple apart from endurance as Jesus explains in His parable of the sower and the seeds. Luke 8:15, “As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” Notice that last word, patience, we’re dealing with a prolonged amount of time here. So the true mark of a disciple is one who hears the Gospel, receives it, lives it out, and grows in time.
A lot of business minded Christians would not like to hear those sentiments. Some of my friends down South are having big debates over the decline in the number of baptisms in their denominations. Why is this so upsetting to them? Because for a lot of Christians, baptism is the measurement to see how productive the church its being with making disciples. Yet, there are many contributing factors for the decline and increase of baptisms. The fact of the matter is that Baptism is a result. Which leads us to ask ourselves, are we a result-driven church?
Baptism alone isn't sufficient for measuring the efficiency of discipleship in the church.
So how do we measure the church’s effectiveness in disciple making? I would argue that it’s not by focusing on the end goal of disciples, but at the means of making those disciples. So many focus just on that one word of disciples in Matthew's account of the Great Commission that they forget the rest of Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."
The means of discipleship is doctrine.
So perhaps a better measurement would be to look at what our church is teaching disciples. Are we Biblical in what we are teaching these individuals? Are we Biblical in how we reach out to these individuals? Are we praying for and with these individuals? Don't focus on the results but on the means we use to honor God through obedience. Let God handle the results, let’s focus on our job of being Biblical in everything we do including making disciples.