When my daughter was little, she would crawl up beside me when I was watching sports and proclaim, “So, you’re watching more football!” It didn’t matter what the sport was, she always said the same thing. To her all sports were the same. They were all “football.”
But all sports are not football. Football rules, plays, and scoring are not to be used for other sports (except maybe golf which would, arguably, make it far better). If we did use football rules for say, basketball, it would do harm to the integrity of the sport.
In a similar fashion, though, we are often tempted to use the wrong “rules” or metrics when we talk about church. This especially happens after one of the “big” holidays (think, Easter and Christmas). When asked how the Easter weekend went, church people (church leaders especially) quickly think in terms of numbers. “Oh it was great! We had x number of services with y people in attendance.”
Now, it may not be bad to know those kinds of numbers but what if those aren’t the correct metric in measuring “success.”
As I was about to fall into the numbers trap this weekend, I caught myself and began to re-evaluate. In doing so, I remembered there are better “metrics” to use. I’m glad I did because it brought me to realize we had a great weekend for three reasons.
People served well.
We had a number of people willingly, joyfully, even sacrificially serve this weekend. In serving, they created space for God’s Spirit to work in lives and Christ was exalted. And because they did it so well, I’m pretty sure those who served were blessed as well!
People desired to grow.
There’s a huge difference between attendance and growth. This may be especially true on Easter. Like any other church, we had people who simply attended. We were glad to have them. What’s more exciting was that many people exhibited genuine interest and desire to grow in relationship with Christ–engaged people, open Bibles, thoughtful questions, encouraging interactions.
People shared Christ’s love.
It’s lovely when the church loves one another. This is, after all, what Christ called us to and one of the things people would notice about His followers (Jn. 13:34-35). What is unfortunately sometimes extraordinary is when the church wants others to experience that kind of love. So they invite, welcome, and go out with Christ’s love. Yep, I saw this with my church this past weekend. It’s one of the reasons it was a great weekend.