The post below is by Randy Lovejoy, pastor of Silverlake Community Church.
I had an opportunity to use a different metric for ministry this past week. This Sunday we had an unusual convergence in our worship service. Not only did adults and youth join. Not only did we have a baptism. We had both of these things as well as the commissioning of a mission team to Africa. And all of this in one service.
I decided to invert my standard order of read Scripture, interpret Scripture and apply Scripture and begin, instead, with two church celebrations (new members and baptism) followed by Scripture as an interpretive bridge, between what we had just done and the commissioning which would follow. The theme of the service would not be something that we were trying to “make happen” in our worship, but would instead arise organically out of what was already happening in the service: our value of being led by the Holy Spirit.
This inversion meant that my role would change as well. Rather than the traditional role of preacher, I would be more of a “play by play” commentator pointing out what is going on in our congregation with the help of Scripture. It was a wonderful experience. The numbers were not large. We have had more than 6 join our church many times. We have had more than 5 go on a mission trip. We have had more than 1 baptism in a church service.
But the wonderful thing was that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that every one of those 11 people took an important step forward in their faith. And everyone in our congregation was strengthened and encouraged by their doing so. It is this growth in the faith that is the real metric.
With this new metric I can stop fretting over personal goals of performance and total numbers. Instead I can rejoice in what God is actually doing among us!