• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

Assessing quality, counting quantity

We exist to glorify God.  We as a World Team community exist to glorify God by establishing and facilitating communities of believers that give birth to other communities.  We work together to explore new ways to share the message of Christ in a contextualized manner, to build disciples and communities that will multiply themselves exponentially among those least reached with the Gospel.

The purpose, the vision,the focus is quite clear.  How will we know if we are actually fulfilling this vision?  Do we just ‘hope for the best’ spiritually speaking?  Or are there any indicators that allow us to assess God given progress?

quality_or_quantity-resized-600Each year, Rebecca and I sit down and decide what we will plant in our garden.  We have rented a plot about 5 kilometers from our house and we want to use the space well.  One crop we plant every year is potatoes. Two things are important with potatoes: the quality of the potatoes.  Not all potatoes store well nor can be used for a variety of cooking purposes.  And second, the quantity of potatoes.  If we’re going to take the time and energy to plant a particular variety of potato, we want to make sure there is a good return.  We will count the approximate number of potatoes harvested at the end of season.  We do this because we want to discover if there are some things we might need to change the following year to have a better harvest.  For example, different soil composition, more consistent watering, or being better on top of parasites that attack our plants could create a greater harvest.  Some things we have no control over, such as the weather, and we simply will do the best with the conditions we face.  Quality and quantity are both concerns.

There are surely a number of parallels between gardening and disciplemaking.  Any ideas?  We can share more about all this in another blog.

Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty … As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it.  He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”  Matthew 13:8, 23

4 Responses

  1. I asked an experienced pastor how an organization should evaluate itself and its ministry. His upfront response was:
    “World Team may not have any of the issues enumerated in Revelation 2 and 3 but those oversights and tolerances that were present was the basis of Christ’s Assessment of His Church.”

  2. Yesterday I returned from a consultation with leaders of a small church 4 hours north of Three Hills. In 2008, Sunday attendance reached about 50 and dropped off to about 30 when the pastor returned to South Africa. Four years ago the church suffered a split when a new leader preached a social gospel and now it is down to a dozen people including the 3 leaders and their spouses.
    The leaders did a community soil assessment — 65% hard soil, 30% shallow/rocky soil, 3% thorny soil and 2% good soil. They noted a high suicide rate with lots of brokenness and spiritual oppression.

    The leaders agreed that God has called them to maintain a Gospel witness in this needy community of 500 people, but they have little hope of reaping a harvest. They agreed to continue with prayer, outreach and caring for the half dozen, mostly senior attendees, “even if not one new person comes to Christ in the next five years.”

    What input would you or others give to these leaders?

    • The input I would give would be: (i) that they have done a good assessment of their harvest field; (ii) to ask the question: what indicator, what outcome could they believe God for in the coming year, 2 years, 5 years? Regular spiritual conversations with others? Several practical acts of service to those in need?; and (iii) to ask the question: what resources do they need to call on? Prayer? Help from other believers nearby or farther away? other?

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