every time i talk to one of my friends who is not in wisconsin i get asked the same question in various forms, “so how are things going with starting the church?” before i talk about my confusion on how to answer that question i want to point out that i’m very thankful that friends are asking it. every time i hear from a friend i am very grateful for it. this is especially true in regards to friends from baton rouge because it’s nice to know that i haven’t been completely forgotten down in the swamps. okay i’ll talk about my confusion now.
i don’t know how to answer my friends because i don’t have anything to compare this experience to and i’m not real sure how to define the success of tapestry. i think we’re doing well. when we started meeting as a leadership team in january we were composed of 5 people committed to the launch and one guest. this past week when we met there were 8 people committed to the launch and one guest. more people seem to be connecting with what we’re thinking about the church and that’s great. yet, like i said i don’t really have anything to compare it too.
the other problem in answering the question is that i don’t know how to define success for tapestry. ultimately tapestry is a success if we bring glory to GOD. that’s the goal but that’s a very hard goal to quantify (as it should be). it would be nice to have something that could be a semi-guiding goal that was quantifiable enough that i could see how we are doing based upon it. i can’t use the launch (september 14th) because it’s kind of lame to have as your goal just to start. launching the church worship services is not even close to the finish line so i can’t aim towards that. i can’t use having a certain number of people attend a worship service because that’s not even just kind of lame, it’s amazingly lame. that’s about as far away from who we are as you can get.
so i’m going to ask a question that i’m not sure is easily answerable. what quantifiable things do you think a young church can and should look at for judging how it’s doing? i would love to hear your thoughts.
right now these are the things that that i think we will be looking at:
- CHANGED LIVES – if we really believe that the gates of hell will not prevail over CHRIST’s church then we should see visible manifestations of evil being defeated within people’s lives.
- SACRIFICES THAT CAN ONLY BE EXPLAINED BY GOD – irrational sacrifice seems very much in line with the way of JESUS. why is it that the early church was know for its sacrifice and the modern church is know for political influence?
- REACHING OUT TO THE REJECTED – the church should be like JESUS and connect with those who are rejected by the powerful.
- SENT LIVES – when our people start feeling like they have been called to all the “corners” of the world to be a part of sharing and living the love of JESUS that will be most excellent.
- NEW DISTINCT CHURCHES – as a church we should be involved in planting new embassies of the kingdom of GOD (i.e. churches) that are their own representations of CHRISTian community rather than franchises of us. to some extent this will be the most visible sign for me. when we plant a “daughter” church i’m going to feel like we are doing what we are supposed to do.
SIDE NOTE – my parents should be very happy. they always complain if i don’t post something regularly (they are the only ones who do). in the past two days i’ve 6 times. while will admit that some of them are quite short (the random quotes post) or administrative (the tapestry monthly prayer post) they’re still posts and therefore count. i’m giving my parents a reason to surf the net.