I had the unique opportunity with working with two different churches outside of my denomination, and normal connections in the past month. Both times working with the church was the first time I’d encountered or met them. But the two encounters couldn’t be more difficult.
The first was difficult, at times troubling, and it was draining. The second church was gracious, open, and quite life-giving.
What I noticed was this. Life around the second church seemed to flourish, whereas, life seemed to wilt around the first.
And of course, there could be a whole host of reasons why at this particular time one church seemed more life-giving than the other. Bad days, imperfections, and mistakes happen to us all.
So I’m not judging either church, but instead thinking about how we should judge or evaluate churches.
Traditionally churches measure budgets, buildings, or numbers. What if instead we started measuring the flourishing of life around the church?
Isn’t that a better metric? A truer metric?
Jesus says he will bring life. So it seems to me that if Jesus is being followed deeply, truly, and freely – life should flourish.
I think it’s a good question to ask about the churches we lead, participate in, or are a part of. I also think it’s a great question for us to ask personally, as people who are the church. Is life flourishing around us? Do our neighbors feel like we are a drain, or a welcome part of their lives? Is Jesus so active in our lives, that life seems to spring around us?
The point is simple: life flourished around Jesus, and it should flourish around his followers as well. It’s not always easy, but it is something to strive for. Something I know I want to strive for in my life and in my church. What about you?