Yesterday I was in a meeting with several pastors from our area. We had a guest, Ryan Kozy, from The Chapel church in Buffalo, NY. At their church, and in their community, they have been evaluating how they’re doing at helping their people become “missional.”
Their measurement of “missional” is in two main areas: How they practice ‘presence’, making intentional relational connections with unbelievers; how they practice ‘proclamation’, having opportunity to share the good news of Jesus through their grace story.
They developed a survey instrument that they have now used with other churches. And they have found some interesting ministry correlations that seem pretty significant. And their findings can turn some of our ministry preconceptions upside down.
If you take four areas of ministry that churches emphasize, Sunday worship, Personal Spiritual Formation, Small Group Communities and Service, they can be ranked in their correlation with “missional” living. But the impact really seems to confront the way most of us have structured ministry.
The greatest correlation between increased “missional” living is service. Those involved in service, inside our outside the church make more relational contacts with unbelievers and proclaim their faith more. Second, it is Small Groups. People involved in small groups are more “outward” in living their faith. Third, it’s Personal Spiritual Formation. And fourth, the least missional people are those involved only in Sunday morning worship. He said these results have been confirmed in many different congregations across the county.
And one of the last comments he made was, those who are satisfied and happy with Sunday morning worship are those who are least “missional”. It makes me wonder, “why do we work so hard to make people happy?” vs. “challenging them and calling them and equipping them to serve – anywhere.”
I’m going to have to think and pray about this a bit. There may not be direct cause and effect relationships here. But it should make us question any “consumer approach” to church. Getting the crowd doesn’t mean we’re reaching the neighborhood for Jesus. And after all isn’t that what are we called to do?