August 23, 2007

Leading People To Be Real Christ Followers In Life...Together (2)

In part 1 of this mini-series (I finally get to use that word on my blog...remember growing up how ABC or CBS always used to have the "groundbreaking mini-series"...I feel so cool now) I focused on the word "Leading" in LifePoint's mission statement...

Now I want to focus on: PEOPLE

I'm sick of local churches, para-church ministries, and generally people out for their own fame and fortune using people as statistics and numbers to justify their own greed and power play. I see churches all the time throwing out how many people they're reaching...statments like:

- We saw 165 decision for Christ
- We reached 500,000 kids for Jesus this year
- We had over 8,000 in attendance this past Sunday (a 26.5% increase same time last year)
- Blah - Blah - Blah

And the list could go on and on. Now here's my question for all the number lovers out there. I want you to define for me the term "reach" and I want you to tell me why "attendance" is in anyway a signficant indicator of your "ecclesiastical" and "gospel transformation" success?

I am tired of us making people a number. They are not numbers. They are lives. Souls. Hurts. Pains. Hopes. Dreams. Disasters. Tragedies. And you want to know why the state of Christianity is in the shape it's in?

Because pastors, ministry leaders, para-church ministries, et all have cared a whole lot more about the "numbers" at their churches/ministries than they have about the lives of the people involved. When you see people as a means to an end to justify your success or existence, you have failed miserably as a leader.

Numbers are not indicative of success - at least Biblically. And I'll hear people talk all the time about Luke recording the 3,000 conversions at Pentecost. I'll also hear people talk about "and there were many being added daily"..

Yea, you know there were. But they were adding daily because there valuable as people, not as another notch in the ministry belt. How does all this tie into LifePoint?

Because over the last couple weeks, every person I have asked the question "Why do you like LifePoint?", their answer has been remarkably consistent..."The People Here Are Great". And it starts with the leadership, and flows down to the church. The people at LifePoint care about one another and that's obvious from the outside looking in. They get involved in Community Groups, they fellowship together on Sunday mornings, they serve together when called upon, and they check up on one another in times of need.

To LifePoint, a person walking in the door isn't a number, they're a person. A person to know. A person to love. And a person to care for. You know it's funny, the people who worry about numbers never seem to see those numbers get big enough for them. But the people who care about people and not numbers, always seem to have the joy and fulfillment that the Lord brings...

Jesus never once looked around and said "Hey...look at the big crowds that are gathering...I must be doing something right"...

He did however look around and intentionally avoid publicity by saying "Go and tell no one". Jesus knew the danger of looking at people as numbers and as a means to an end for a selfish vision. But he chose to focus on the person and their lives and why their lives mattered.

I'm excited to be a part of a church where the focus is on people. Numbers may or may not come, but people will always be there to love, care, serve, and minister. The mission statement says more than you think it does...

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