We are a team of 9 – 4 couples, serving together as leaders in the church planting ministry in Moldova. As we abbreviated it LGCM. Maybe somebody would quickly reply: A little correction, the number is wrong. No, there is no mistake. This is a team of spiritual leaders, so Jesus is in the team too😊 – thus 9.
I don’t know if you liked math in school or if that was your nightmare. I liked math, ok till the 9th grade, and then I studied music. But Jesus seemed to be fond of counting. And His counting was always a bit different than ours…
In Jesus’ math 5 loaves and 2 fish made 12 baskets of leftover after feeding 5 000. Later, Jesus asked the disciples to remember exactly the number of bread and the number of baskets left. He wanted to teach them to count. To count well and to understand what they counted. How many? In different situations Jesus wanted them to see different things.
In ministry, to lead well, we count too. We call this counting: statistics. Often, when one must fill in the statistics, there is an inner deep sight. Week by week we are filling the data in the statistics form. Sometimes we write more numbers there, sometimes less. How many people heard the Gospel, how many spiritual conversations, how many follow-ups, how many disciples, etc. One can get lost or discouraged if the numbers are low. And we are tempted to go in the direction of what we could do to add more. But with the Iron on Iron tool introduction, I came to realization that there is a better direction.
The idea is that as iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens another man. In a group of trusting people, you share about your walk with the Lord, about your relationships and about your personal ministry. You learn to understand multiplication and analyze your ministry in terms of it. First there were the leaders who went through the Iron on Iron process, and in a year every team member came part of it. A great tool, like a mirror, are Generational Maps. They taught us the 9 elements we want to see in our home churches and communities: 1. Prayer 2. The Word of God 3. Worship 4. Fellowship 5. Prayer, Care, Share 6. The Lord’s Supper 7. Baptism 8. Giving 9. Caring Leaders. This is the perfect picture of a healthy church where all the elements are present in full bloom. I just like it how you can simply draw it yourself and be inspired.
Yet the main discovery was in understanding the multiplication perspective and power! You start with little, like the 5 loaves and 2 fish and God does the multiplication as you slowly build in the right elements. Once you know the direction, you go!
In our team meetings, we use the generational map of our country in order to assess better our situation: what God has already done, how many people are there in the movement, how many of them are Christians, how many are baptized, how many groups are led by lay believers, how many by disciples, how many by staff from Cru. We look at the present elements, we pray and think of our next strategic step in terms of what, where and when, in order to have all the elements present in all the groups and churches. We think about the key places and key people that need to be trained, about how to build and strengthen the flock. We pray and ask God to show us the key things we need to do in order to multiply. We think about the money we have and the money we need and how we can build parterships with others for sinergy. And we gather the stories. These are crucial in measurements. They reveal to us the supernatural work of God. The decisive value of ministry is that it changes lives.
Measuring outcomes takes us beyond counting numbers, keeping us true to our mission and passionate about making a lasting difference in the world. So we pray and think again.
Finally, however precise our measures, the results are merely a commentary on our efforts, not the measure of success. Success is measured with God’s yardstick. As J.I Packer puts it: “After all, the way of health and humility is for us to admit to ourselves that in the final analysis we do not and cannot know the measure of our success as God sees it.” So we ask Him to teach us His math and help us count and see.