Summary: How does God define success?
A Key Concept
“And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved” Acts 2:47
Jacob’s Field in Cleveland stands as a monument to the fact that people will pay money to participate with a team that wins. The state-of-the-art stadium opened in 1994. It became the home of 455 consecutive sell outs. Many who grew up watching the then-lowly Indians remember the days when a scant few thousand people would attend games in the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium where foul balls would bounce around empty seats. By 1995 the magic of a new stadium and a winning team had Northeast Ohio in frenzy.
Everyone wants to be a part of a winning team. But the reverse is also true: people tend to stop showing up when an organization is not winning. Nothing will empty seats faster than a losing streak. Players can complain about fair-weather fans, and owners can pour millions into slick ad campaigns, but the best way to fill seats is to win.
We are the players on the most important team on earth.
God has a dream, God has a team. His dream was born on the day of creation. God created a community of love like the one that exists within the Godhead. God made man in His image with the potential of giving and receiving love.
On the Day of Pentecost, God rejuvenated this dream through the giving of the Holy Spirit. In Acts chapter 2, God turned a page in history that assembled a team of people to be salt and light in the world. Acts 2 is the cornerstone of the franchise. In this critical chapter we are told of God’s desire to equip His team with his own presence. In verses 2:42-47, the team caught the vision of the owner. They carried out the dream of a new community living out the values of their coach. God is the owner, Jesus is the Savior coach. Together we follow a plan that has the potential to change the world.
How do you know when a team is winning? It’s obvious. An enormous scoreboard is placed in the center of the stadium so the crowd and players can see how their team is doing. Most organizations recognize the need to have some type of “scoreboard”.
How do you know if a church is winning? The very nature of what a church does makes it difficult to keep score. How do you create a scoreboard that measures intangibles like relevant teaching and changed lives?
Too many churches have bought into the myth that high attendance and lots of money as the sign of success. When we turn to the pages of Scripture we find God’s measurement is determined by faithful stewardship. Success in God’s terms is when the self centered become servants and the selfish become stewards.