I guess I’m saying that I’m concerned (Summit Church included) that our efforts to produce numbers that look good on blogs, get us on lists, and sound good in introductions may be (inadvertently) damning many people to hell by keeping us from focusing our energies on producing the disciples who go all the way with Jesus. A good thing (excitement of initial decisions) is keeping us from the best thing and the only eternal thing (making disciples).
So by all means count the numbers. Just celebrate the right ones, and give producing those numbers the proper weight in your church.
David Mathis recently extracted some practical ideas from the book in connection to all the family gatherings accustomed to the holidays. Here are those ten points again, or in his words, “a few thoughts from a fellow bungler to help us think ahead and pray about how we might grow in being proxies for the gospel, in word and deed, among our families.”
One serious consequence of concluding that true spirituality is exclusively introspective-that it’s all about internal betterment-is that we fail to see the needs of our neighbor and serve them, which is James’ definition of “good works.” After all, as Martin Luther said, “God doesn’t need our good works, but our neighbor does.”
As 2011 draws to a close it’s the perfect time for me to decompress the year, to pull it apart like an accordion, stretching it wide so I can see the events, big and small, that gave 2011 its character. Those on the top edge of those accordion folds are the year’s winners, while the others living in the channels are its losers.