Transforming Church Team Blog
resourcing leaders…reenvisioning the future

“Showtime!” No More – by Walt Kallestad – part 7 of 7

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A new scorecard

A new model meant we had to redefine what a “win” looks like. If we continued to use the same measuring stick for success, we were utter failures, especially since our attendance and the quality of our worship service sharply declined. Honestly, those things still matter to some extent, but they aren’t as important to us as producing empowered disciples. What does it profit a man if he builds a great church but loses community?

Instead of just counting the people and the offerings, now we look for evidence that people are breaking out of their private, cocooned lives and are fully engaged with God and serving him. We want them to do more than grab a cup of coffee in the lobby or meet someone new during the worship gatherings. We want them to go deep with one another. To be 3:00 a.m. friends—the kind of people others could call if they had an emergency. We encourage them to have a mentor and to be a mentor.

In the old days, we protected people’s anonymity; today we thrust them into community, doing life together. We used to invite them to attend church; now we invite them to be the church. I used to ask, “What can we do to get more people to attend our church?” Now I ask, “How can I best equip and empower the people to go be the church in the marketplace where God has called them to serve?”

Some of our people began house churches. Mike and Kim launched a “Taco Church.” The people worship together in their taco shop, and then share a meal together. Having church in a taco shop makes fellowship time easy, but it doesn’t lend itself to baptismal services very well. When they need to baptize, instead of taking the converts to Joy, Mike and Kim borrow the church’s portable baptistery and fill it with water from their hot tub at home. Not exactly the most efficient way to do ministry, but that’s the way marketplace ministry is. While inviting members to leave our church to start a Taco Church doesn’t increase our attendance, it does expand the Kingdom and fulfills our mission of equipping empowered disciples.

This isn’t social networking; it is ministry. Some will branch out and begin churches like Mike and Kim did, but even if they don’t, we expect them to be actively ministering to one another’s needs, even in life and death situations.

“Walt, my grandson is in the hospital, and I don’t think he is going to pull through,” Lee said. “Will you go and pray for him?”

“Sure, Lee, I could do that, but so could you. Come with me,” I said. We walked over to the altar, and I pulled out a small vial of oil. “Take this with you to the hospital and put a drop of oil on his forehead and pray that God will heal him.”

Before, the staff worked in a high control/low accountability environment. We controlled the programing and the people came if they wanted to come. The people had very little control and because of that, they had very little accountability. Now it is low control/high accountability. We have less control but hold the people accountable to transform their community.

I didn’t go to the hospital to minister to Lee’s grandson; Lee did. Instead of controlling the ministry, I held Lee accountable to minister to his community and gave him the tools he needed.

Lee went to the hospital to be a priest to his own family.  “Hold still, son. Grandpa is going to pray for you,” he said. The boy watched his grandfather’s trembling hands take the lid off the container, and listened to him pray.

“I ask in Jesus’ name that you heal my grandson,” Lee prayed, and then he placed a drop of oil on the boy’s forehead. Thirty-six hours later, his grandson returned home.

Today, that’s how we define success. One changed life and one empowered disciple at a time.

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