What does the box score say?

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)

How are we doing in the “seeking and saving the lost” department?

As a denomination, how well are we doing?

I read two stories recently about United Methodist congregations. One story is pointed to by theological liberals, who say it shows that we don’t care about fruitful ministry. The other story is pointed to by evangelicals, who say it shows what will happen if the denomination does not get its house in order. Both stories are about churches that have grown in size, but neither story tells me much about how many of the lost were saved at either church. This is what I really want to know.

Without this information, talking about these two stories is a bit like comparing baseball teams by discussing their success in selling tickets. This information is important, but it does not really tell you what matters most.

How are we doing?


2 thoughts on “What does the box score say?

  1. Perhaps the very best broad standard of vitality it the ratio of conversions/decisions to follow Christ compared to the actual attendance in Bible study/worship. This is superior to the once common standard based on membership due to the inconsistent less than perfect maintaining of membership records as the local church level. Applied to either of the above congregations, it would be most helpful in evaluating their actual effectiveness in discipleship, etc. Combined with attention to how congregational ministry is relevant to meeting actual community need, one would be able to determine just how much of what passes for vitality is mere ticket selling and how much is actually putting points on the board.

    1. The trick for me is that initial conversion is not the same as final salvation. Of course, we don’t get to see that score until the game ends and the trophies are handed out.

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