How do you measure the spiritual success of a church? Is it quantified by church attendance each Sunday? Or by the amount of people who have been saved each year? The size of the youth group or the number of home groups that meet each week? The square footage of the church campus or number of volunteers who serve the community? The tithing income? The higher the count, the more spiritually successful, right? If you meet or exceed a yearly quota then all is good! Success!
Sadly, many church leaders and Christians have adopted this commercialized, corporate view on spiritual prosperity. We must understand, if our churches are not in line with God’s intent for the Body of Christ, we cannot claim spiritual success no matter how prosperous the numbers are. And yet, how often do we hear praise reports from the pulpit about how many people raised their hands during last Sunday’s alter call? The congregation cheers and claps their hands, and then the service continues as scheduled. What if you heard your pastor say “Praise God! 20 people received Christ last Sunday. So now we need 20 spiritually mature Christians in this body to come along side these new Christians, and to disciple them in the Word. Who will volunteer?” Would your hand go up? Would you feel equipped to disciple a new believer?
Don’t get me wrong, it is praiseworthy when anyone receives Christ, but the Church cannot take any credit for salvation numbers. It is God who draws a person unto Himself. And yes, the Church is a great place to proclaim the gospel so that unbelievers can learn how to receive the gift of salvation, but once salvation is received, that is the precise moment when the work truly begins; making disciples.
“One life wholly devoted to God is of more value to God than one hundred lives simply awakened by His Spirit.” – Oswald Chambers
As Christians, we are not to busy ourselves with church activities and rejoice in our spiritual services (Luck 10:20). Instead, we are to live a life yielded to God and to teach other believers how to do the same. You’ve been commissioned in Matthew 28:19-20 to “make disciples”.
“Salvation and sanctification are the work of God’s sovereign grace; our work as His disciples is to disciple lives until they are wholly yielded to God.” – Oswald Chambers
“As workers for God we must reproduce our own kind spiritually, and that will be God’s witness to us as workers. God brings us to a standard of life by His grace, and we are responsible for reproducing that standard in others.” – Oswald Chambers
True success in a church is evident when God’s commission is being fulfilled. But becoming a disciple is a choice. The church cannot force or shame people into excepting God’s call to be His disciple, but they can make it clear what a disciple is and provide the means (people, tools, and resources) to become one! Look yourself in the mirror and ask “are you living a spiritually successful walk with God?” Answer God’s call on your life and let’s go make disciples of Jesus Christ!