A better question to ask

At a recent pastor’s conference, one comment really caught my attention. “How is our community benefiting from our church’s ministry?”This question was suggested to replace some of the usual barometers of ministry, such as

Is our attendance increasing?
How many new members do we have?
What kind of activities does our church offer?

Those kinds of questions tend to be inward focused and self-serving. The question, “How is our community benefiting?” is outward focused but harder to answer. I can count the number of people who show up for a worship service on Sunday morning. But how do I quantitfy our church’s impact on the community?

  • How many families are fed with the food donated for the resource center’s food pantry?
  • How many parents are now praying at the request of their children who learned to pray in our preschool?
  • How many of our youth are a positive influence among their classmates in the public schools?
  • How many children in the after school Bible club we sponsor have come to faith in Jesus?
  • How many children in Haiti have led their parents to Christ through our partnership in their school?
  • How many people have been blessed, strengthened and healed through our prayers for them?

Those kinds of questions not only make me thankful for the far-reaching influence of the church, but remind me that there is so much more to do.

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