Wednesday, January 31, 2007

When does a church win?

Here’s a thought... if a church is growing, seeing lives changed, growing the kingdom and making disciples, is it winning? Most of the time we would say yes. But I had a thought today. I was listening to Joseph Minchelli’s Podcast, The Starbucks Experience, and he was talking about how different branches of the same business can no longer be successful on their own, at the expense of their sister stores. He says that to be successful you must focus on the corporation as a whole. Stores must cooperate, instead of compete.

That got me thinking about the church. I know we would never say this, but churches are always in competition with one another. We compete over programs. We compete over attendance. We compete about giving. We compete about buildings. And all around us we see some churches that are growing and many more that are plateauing or declining. What we do is we focus on the individual churches (specifically, our individual church...especially if things are going well) and how they are doing instead of focusing on the whole Church in any given city or town.

Let me illustrate. I live in Spartanburg, SC. We have around 500 churches in our county. A few of them are booming and growing and are what we would call successful churches. They are seeing lives changed. People are coming to Jesus. But are they really successful? What if we were to focus on the Church, as a whole in any given region, instead of any single church? Would we say that the Church is winning? Or might we have to sweep that under the rug and only focus on the localized “success” stories? I so much want The Point to contribute to the Church as a whole. Our name, The Point, reflects that passion. A definition for Point is: A small representation of a much larger object. May we all be about building The Church. There is too much at stake for us to settle for anything less.

What do I know? This who last post could have been a waste. It was just something I was thinking about.

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3 Comments:

At 12:33 PM, February 07, 2007 , Blogger Gil said...

In a round about way, you're asking why churches aren't more missional, a popular topic of conversation. I wouldn't apologize for recognizing that competition among churches is a reality. It exposes the fact that churches should seek to cooperate rather than compete. Greenville-Spartanburg is the heart of the Bible Belt and is, as you say, saturated with churches. Compared to less Christianized parts of the country and the world, it is really easy to lose sight of the bigger picture here. Instead of church building, we should focus on kingdom building. I can't take credit for these thoughts. For a good summary on the conversation, see this article, The Missional Church, on urbana.org.

 
At 1:37 PM, February 07, 2007 , Blogger Jonathan Everette said...

Thanks for your comment. I'm still trying to process all of what I wrote, but I do agree that it involves being more missional. I don't want to be guilty of losing sight of the big picture.

 
At 3:02 AM, March 01, 2007 , Blogger Joseph Michelli said...

Jonathan,

Thank you for taking the time to listen to my podcast. Feel free to leave me feed back anytime. Blessings to you and your family.

Joseph Michelli
www.josephmichelli.com

 

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