The Kingdom’s Scorecard – Is Your Church Really Successful or Faithful?
By Niyi Dunmade
Over the years, many churches and their leaders have come to place emphasis on the number of people in their congregation or their seating capacity as well as the size of offerings taken as the main proof of how successful they are in the ministry that God has called them to. This one factor is used as the only basis upon which the success of a church or Christian ministry is measured.
We will be referring to this method as the flawed scorecard which isn’t Kingdom supported.
While keeping a tab on the number of attendees in your church is important, it is not the factor that matters when it comes to the work of God’s Kingdom.
Before diving into what the Kingdom’s scorecard is all about, it is important to state that one thing that is of utmost importance to God is faithfulness. It is the true measure of success in every Christian’s life and ministry, and Christian leaders have to give it the importance it deserves. God desires and rewards faithful leaders, ministers, people, and churches. We are to carry out our ministry on earth in a way that on the last day, we will hear God say to us “Well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
The major problem with this flawed scorecard is that the size of a congregation might not correlate with the number of members who are walking the Christian life that God desires. A positive attendance register does not guarantee that the attendees are faithful in their Christian walk and are continuously growing and displaying the fruit of the Spirit. The business of disciple-making and maturing cannot be a quick fix, while the impatience of our generation is not allowing for proper baking in the oven of discipleship.
This is one of the reasons why the flawed scorecard must be discarded in favour of the Kingdom’s scorecard. The Kingdom’s scorecard takes into consideration the matters that are of great importance in the work for God’s Kingdom, and at its very core, it places emphasis on faithfulness.
So what does this Kingdom scorecard entail?
First, it focuses on external effects and not only the internal effects of the church. In carrying out God’s work, churches should spread out their branches to create external impact and minister to the needs of their community. The church does not exist for itself but for the community. Your church can improve in this area by encouraging members of the church to actively and consistently volunteer in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social responsibilities.
Second, the Kingdom’s scorecard focuses on people-development rather than program-development. I will refer to it as the Business of Disciple Making. Don’t get me wrong, programs are important in a church, as one of the avenues for soul winning. But more emphasis should be placed on how well the members of the congregation are doing instead of focusing on how well the church’s programs are doing.
Third, the Kingdom’s scorecard focuses on a movement-based approach rather than a local church-based approach which can be myopic. What do we mean by a movement-based approach? It simply means recognising what the great commission given by Jesus entails. The great commission entails spreading the gospel to the far ends of the earth. A church leader with this mind-set will look for ways to invest in people and programs that have far-reaching effects beyond the four walls of his local church. On the other hand, a church leader with a church-based approach will focus only on his church and its programs. This latter approach stifles the movement of the Kingdom work as regards to the great commission.
This movement-based approach takes into consideration one of the most important factors of all in Christian ministry – the act of making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). This command that Jesus gave to His disciples also applies to us; we are commanded to make disciples of all nations.
Disciple-making is vital on a church’s scorecard. Put simply, a church that makes disciples wins, and a church that doesn’t, loses. In the end of the age, of crucial importance will be how many disciples you have made. It won’t matter how large your church’s attendance was, how large the amount of Sunday offerings were, the size of your church’s building, branches or how many additional multisites your church developed.
Disciple-making is of paramount importance and therefore adequate attention must be given to it by each church, each church leader, and each pastor. In measuring how well your church is doing in the act of disciple-making, you need to come up with a definition of who a disciple is as well as a list of attributes against which discipleship will be measured. Discipleship is more than just taking a series of classes, it is about how a person lives in relation to God and the church, and how a person contributes his time, talent, or anything of value to the work of God.
Fourth, the Kingdom’s scorecard takes into consideration the church’s mission. The church mission can be regarded as three-pronged. The first is to reach the far parts of the earth and tell people about the good news. The second is to bring restoration. The church has a duty to work against various societal issues such as poverty, discrimination, injustice, and many more. This is where volunteering with and creating NGOs will come into play. The third is to reproduce the mission in others. The church is to act as a catalyst that encourages individuals to go ahead to reproduce the church’s mission.
These four factors are the most important factors to be incorporated in your church’s scorecard when trying to determine how well your church is doing. There are other factors to be included based on the unique attributes and objectives of your church, so build a scorecard that reflects your church’s beliefs, makes it very easy to monitor the pulse of your local church and as well advise you on methods of maintaining what your scorecard says.
In conclusion, you should monitor how well you are doing in the things that you believe really matter; most important of which are making disciples, accomplishing the church’s mission, and acting as a catalyst to encourage others to reproduce the church’s mission. Every local church must be very busy getting the gospel to those who need it, spent the needed resources to get them grounded or established as disciples and be willing to release to make impact in the community.