Summary: Churches and Christians are great at writing mission statements. But how do we know if we’re winning or not? How do you keep score in Christian walk?
If I were to ask you this morning,
“what is the mission of . . .
“… the Washington Redskins?” What would you say?
(Answer) To Win the Super Bowl.
How do you know if they are accomplishing their mission?
(Answer) Whether or not they are winning their games.
How do you know if they are winning their games?
(Answer) They keep the score.
I mean can you imagine what a game would be like if the teams just lined up and played each other going up and down the field but didn’t bother to keep the score? What would be the point? It would seem pretty aimless to me don’t you think? I mean can’t you just picture the teams blocking, hitting and pounding each other to get the ball into the end zone, only to realize that no one’s keeping score? The whole scenario is absolutely preposterous isn’t it?
The Mission of the Church
What if I were to ask you this morning,
“what about the mission of the church? what’s the mission of . . .
“. . . the church?”
I would dare say that most of us would point to Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
According to Jesus, our mission as the church is to go into all the world and teach all people the life changing message of the Gospel, making disciples of those who
believe. If “Making Disciples of All People” is our mission, then how do we know if we’re winning? Or is church just one of those deals where you have a lot of activity of going up and down the field without keeping score? And if the score is important, just how do you go about keeping it? How do you keep score in the church?
New Hope Baptist
Our first church, New Hope Baptist kept score with an old oak board that hung on the wall just to the left of the platform. There were three ways that our church kept score and those three items were faithfully displayed every Sunday morning on the oak board. And they were:
• Worship Attendance
I’ve come to realize that many churches are still keeping score this way. And while I don’t totally dismiss it, I am totally convinced that there are other ways to measure the churches’ effectiveness.
The Church At Corinth
I find it interesting that we’re not the only ones to ask or consider how to measure a churches’ effectiveness. Way back in the first century when the church was in it’s infancy, there was a local church in Corinth who were struggling with some of these same issues. In response to their questions the Apostle Paul pens what we now know as the Letter of 1 Corinthians. And for our time together, I would like to focus our attention on chapter nine, beginning with verse twenty-four.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)
I absolutely love this passage of Scripture because this it is an autobiography of the apostle Paul himself. And if anyone was ever considered a winner in the Christian Life and in the Church, Paul would undoubtedly qualify. And so in these short four verses Paul Personally Models Three Characteristics of a Genuine Winner in both the Christian Life and the Church.
And I don’t know about you, but I really need to know what it means for our church to win as well as in my own walk with Christ.
Three Characteristics of Genuine Winners
The First Characteristic of a Winner is That . . .
#1. Winners Are Contenders.
Run in such a way as to get the prize. v.24