The Measure of a Church

Something to chew on that is good for the soul™

Our subscribers weigh in on The Measure of a Church

Our SOUND BITES subscribers were asked to complete the following statement. Their thoughtful responses follow. If you would like to add your response, please send an e-mail to SOUND BITES Ministry.

The success of a church is not measured by the size of its budget or the number of people on its rolls, but by…

the commitment of its members. – Unknown

the way they take care of each other spiritually. -- J. K. in Michigan

the disciples we are making. -- R. H. in Kentucky

the openness to not segregate who should or should not take part in Holy Communion; who remembers the church is like an infirmary; who does not use a style of pointing fingers and laying guilt, esp. on already broken people; instead it should remember "What would Jesus do?" and be an encourager in helping people to get on the right path and to be vigilant to this end. -- A. in Maryland

how many people come to the Lord. -- M. H. in Michigan

the size of its unified heart. -- P. H. in Wisconsin

its effect in the community. -- B. D. in Virginia

the love and sharing it generates among its members, the community and the world. -- P. W. in Wisconsin

the actions of the Holy Spirit working within the members by the outpouring of God's love to those in need. Being Jesus with skin on to others. -- S. M. K. in Illinois

the way it lives out the message of Jesus in all its forms. -- P. L. in Wisconsin

its commitment to missions, and the involvement of its members in carrying out the gospel - through acts of service and/or evangelism. -- K. S in Illinois

Taking the quote as it is written . . . the church is know by its ROLES in the community, "doing all the good it can…, " its roles in the spiritual life of the folks in the community, and its roles in "making disciples of Christ" throughout the world. Thus, the church is known by how it cultivates community, making the Holy Spirit alive for all. -- G. L. in Oregon

[This is such a great exercise. I did not submit a response as I couldn't crystallize my thoughts..... my immediate response would be an essay. It is interesting to see the responses of others; slightly different emphasis or perspective but all facets of one gem. We truly are the body of Christ as described in I Corinthians 12. Thanks for making us think about something so important. -- D. P. in Maryland]

the fish we are catching. -- R. H. in Kentucky

how far its outreach reaches out and the priority it has in the church budget, how close its members come in community as brothers and sisters in Christ (how frequently are their prayers filled with the needs of fellow members and how often are prayers asked for others in the extended circles of those members), the joy of all ages (very young to very old) that is apparent as they study, worship, pray, praise and glow with the desire to follow Christ and his teachings and to share that unbelievable grace and mercy and blessing with others. -- L. H. in Colorado

the number (percentage) of faithful prayer warriors the church has. -- R. D. in Ohio

its ability to lead unbelievers to Christ, and believers to Christ-likeness. -- A. W. in Pennsylvania

our faith and commitment. -- J. B. in Wisconsin

the lives it touches. -- S. M. in Florida

whether or not the message of salvation is being preached in a loving way. -- C. B. in California

the kindness is shows to the outcast. -- R./M. K. in Minnesota

how passionate the members and their guests are about the work being done at and by the church. -- J. P. in Wisconsin

uplifting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savoir and following the whole BIBLE, not just parts. -- M. F.

the faithfulness accorded to others -- especially our Pastor -- always with Christ's death for all in mind. -- E. N. in Wisconsin

the length and breadth of its outreach shown by God's people through the touch of Christ being felt, and the voice of God being heard by our neighbours, coworkers and families, in the shops, hospitals, businesses and homes where we live and work. -- G. W. in Ontario, Canada

the involvement of its members. -- L. M. in Wisconsin

how they truly and honestly care and pray for each other. -- B. A. in Tennessee

its ability to bring people into relationship with God. -- K. N. in Pennsylvania

the number of transformed lives produced by its ministries and members. -- F. C. in Wisconsin

the people and how they reach out to those around them. -- C. H. in California

how its members are growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ. -- R. U. in Maryland

how its members serve the Lord. -- K. M. in Georgia

the faith, service and welcomeness shown to all who enter through its doors. -- C. C. in Ohio

how well the people are growing spiritually. -- P. K. in California

how Christ's love is shared within their "family" and the community around them. -- D. O. in Washington

the way its members act once they leave Sunday morning service... especially trying to get out of the parking lot. -- R. S. in Ontario, Canada

whether the people who are in it are willing to budge to help other people be made whole. -- D. W. in Texas

the size of its heart/compassion. -- J. J. in Wisconsin

the Christian life they live. -- J. W. in South Carolina

its obedience and effectiveness in making disciples -- "teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you". -- T. M. in Ontario, Canada

the love and kindness they show to a visitor in their midst. -- J. C.

how they love those both inside and outside the church. -- E. H. in Ohio

the spiritual health of its members and community. -- T. J. H. in Illinois

the works of its members in serving its community; its missions work for the needy thru out the world and character shown by its members in their everyday life. -- A. K. in Ohio

the love it shows one another in Christ. -- G. O. in Georgia.

the faith they have in Gods' love and His power to direct their lives. -- D. W. in Virginia

the blessings from God that results from the obedience and praises of His people. -- S. S. in Ohio

the presence of the Holy Spirit. -- C. S. in Ohio

what happens in the minds and hearts of the members: do they hear Jesus' message of love and peace and learn to hold one another in their hearts with tenderness. -- L. M. in California

the compassion, understanding and love that surrounds each person that enters it's portals. -- W. M. in Alabama

its witness to the community; corporately as an organization, and individually by the actions of its members. As members of the body of Christ, our actions should reflect our faith, and the example that Jesus set during His lifetime...above all, love. -- M. P. in Ohio

the joy and kindnesses in the hearts of the congregation. -- M. C. in Texas

the spiritual growth of its members and how well they respond to God's call for their lives. -- C. W. in Georgia

whether its members live Christ-like lives. -- C. G.

the presence of Christ's love. -- V. C. in Oklahoma

the contagious love for Christ as seen on the faces of the folks within as they greet each other and willingly and joyfully serve His missions. -- N. W. in New Jersey

Christ's love that shines through their members to the community and the world around them. -- N. A. in Wisconsin

its ability to act like Christ. -- R. J.

the size of their hearts, their faith, their compassion for community. -- B. F. in Wisconsin

the participation of its members. -- B. W. in Wisconsin

its compassion and how it treats the least of the least. -- J. J.

its active role in bettering the community in which it is located. -- B. M. in Wisconsin

the love of Christ that it shares with all people. -- D. J. in Illinois

the forgiveness and God-like grace the people exhibit towards one another in Christ's name; and the faith of those who believe in the Lord and follow His commandments. -- C. M. in Wisconsin

the presence of the Holy Spirit and knowing Christ shed His blood for the remission of our sins, therefore teaching the anointed Word of God and letting the Word be life in our hearts and minds eternally. -- L. & S. M. in Colorado

LOVE, both for God and for others. -- D. B. in Arizona

the community it serves, not only in the name of Christ but also in a Christ-like manner: respecting the individual, serving each other's needs, protecting the vulnerable, loving the hated, embracing the forgotten and praying together for us all. -- J. O. in Arizona

the love it spreads. -- C. S. in Wisconsin

the love in their hearts and the willingness to put Jesus and others first. A great keyword to live by is J O Y: Jesus first, Others next and Yourself last. -- N. B. in South Carolina

the size of its members' hearts. -- L. G. in California

its obedience to the Lord. -- C. F.

the love found there. -- J. C. in Oklahoma

its faithfulness. -- W. B. in Ohio

the percentage of members that are being equipped and encouraged for servanthood. If they show up for work.......... the Lord will provide the opportunity. -- T. G. in Texas

the amount of love shared with those both inside and outside its doors. -- G. O. in New York

the respect that the community has for it. -- D. G. in Iowa

PRAYERS… and our outreach to others who are lost and those in need of monetary help. -- F. W in Georgia

the love and unity of the people within as a result of the Holy Spirit working in their midst! -- C. F. in Singapore

the way it demonstrates Christ's unconditional love. -- C. H. in Kentucky

the number of lives touched with the love of Christ. -- V. L. in Wisconsin

the difference it makes in the world at large. Jesus called it fruit. And Light. -- D. F.

the number of "souls" it has repaired! -- K. B. in California

its faithfulness in living the gospel. -- P. B. in Maryland

the glory it reflects to its Maker. Man is not called to measure the success of a church. Its success is known only by God who knows the hearts of those touched and changed by the living body of His Son, as lived in the life of the Church. -- S. M.

the Christian relationships established and nourished within the church. -- M. B. in Wisconsin

its commitment of time spent with the Lord seeking His will in prayer and then obeying it. -- A. K in Ohio

its ability to connect and provide spiritual guidance to all members of the community and congregation. -- D. S. in Wisconsin

whether they keep His commandment to love one another. -- J. V. in Virginia

its works in carrying out the mission to serve in the name of Jesus Christ. -- C. S. in Wisconsin

the size of its heart. -- A. T. in Ohio

the goodness it engenders in the hearts of its people. -- M. J. A. in Wisconsin

how well it lives the message and teaching of Christ. -- S. S. in Tennessee

our ability to communicate our joy in Christ to everyone. -- B. S. in Ontario, Canada

the commitment to discipleship and spiritual service to others. -- B. D. in Utah

the size of the hearts of the people and what they do with their budget to reach out to others and to live as Jesus would have. -- W. A. F. in Ohio

how they treat the people in their neighborhood who don't pass through their doors. -- K. B. in Iowa

the amount of love shared globally, as well as shown to the community; its measure of success is when people feel in their heart that they are "at home" in God's House. -- K. B. in Wisconsin

how they fulfill Christ's instructions; how they relate to one another. -- D. W. W. in Virginia

the number of people who find the Love of God through those in the church. -- B. S. in Kentucky

the kindness and compassion, and the feeling of being a part of a "family" that the members show to each other and to its visitors. -- T. M. in Wisconsin

the depth of its commitment to serve the Lord. -- P. K. in Tennessee

the people involved in that ministry and the sharing of God's love, by teaching others about Jesus Christ. -- D. A. in Minnesota

its candlepower -- how brightly it illuminates the image of God in a dark world. -- A. N. in Georgia

the spiritual growth of its members. -- L. M. in Illinois

the love of GOD and the FAITH of the followers. TO GOD BE THE GLORY. -- P. S. in West Virginia

the size of its heart and spirit. -- C. P. in California

the change it causes in the community it serves, to follow CHRIST. -- H. K. in Wisconsin

the heart of its volunteers. -- L. M. in Wisconsin

how many people in the congregation have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. -- S. C. in Singapore

its commitment to Christ expressed in discipleship. -- M. K. in Nebraska

its service to the community. -- J. C. in Texas

a membership who values discipleship, that is they continue to want to grow and learn about Jesus in their faith journey as individuals: adults, youth, and children, and as families and small groups. A love for learning about God and sharing that with your family and others allows to you deepen your relationship with God and your willingness to reach out and connect with others and share your gifts and talents God has blessed you with, with those in your family, church, community, work place, and mission field. -- B. W. in Wisconsin

the size of its heart. -- K. D. C. in West Virginia

its contribution to spiritual quality of life experienced by the humanity in its community. -- P.C.

how they serve the needy in their community. -- G. T. in Minnesota

trusting in God no matter what the circumstances of your life; love you show to others & works. -- K. M.

the love it manifests in its members and the community. -- A. M.

the degree of presence the Spirit of God has in the heart of each individual… the Spirit of God does not (and cannot) sin… not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit!!!… No church is "successful"… Its degree of Light in the world is in direct proportion to the presence of Christ in individuals… He is the Light… The Spirit of God "cleans up" individual hearts so that He who is Light can shine through… for the gory of God. The Son of God reveals the Father… the Spirit of God reveals the Son. -- S. C. in Pennsylvania

the "inch by inch" successes that lead to a congregation that feels connected to each other and to the Lord. -- L. T. in Michigan

the size of its heart and the length of its outstretched arms. -- J. P. in Wisconsin

the ability of the members to love everyone, including themselves---- as God loves them-------- meet people where they are------ NOT where you want them to be----- I think when we do this------ the rest all falls into place-------- not overnight------ but in God's time. -- G. J. in Saskatchewan, Canada

the fruit of it's labor. The compassion of its people and the presence of the Holy Spirit. -- B. C. in Wisconsin

the walk they walk: doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with God (Micah 6:8). -- S. M. in Ohio

the willingness of the people to allow God to use us and His church for His purposes. -- S. S. in Michigan.

real people… melted saints circulating through the mainstream of humanity, bringing worth and value down where life transpires in the raw." (from the October 8th devotional message of "Come Before Winter and Share My Hope" by Charles R. Swindoll, Zondervan) -- M. S. in California

the love it shows. -- M. G. in Ohio

the presence of the Holy Spirit which, in turn, can be measured by glorious acts of kindness and good works, great celebratory music, inspirational and challenging sermons, engaged young people, smiles and warm greetings and hugs. -- J. B. in Wisconsin

the extent to which those people have a prayerful, barrier free relationship with Jesus Christ. -- R. v. R. in Alberta, Canada

its outreach to lost souls, in the church or with out the church. -- J . G. in Wisconsin

the spiritual lives of people who attend the church. -- N. K. H. in Zimbabwe, Africa

the way the parishioners leave church after services talking about the LORD, not about how great (or boring) the sermon was, or how marvelous (or poor) the music sounded, or how delicious (or awful) the coffee-hour donut-holes were. -- D. W. in Wisconsin

its ability to provide Christ-like gyroscopes that help individuals lead lives of purity and compassion. This is the one sure way to eliminate gambling, greed, adultery, drunkenness, cheating, and to usher in world peace. -- C. F. C. in Ohio

the way others outside the church see our Lord and Savior, whom we follow, through the windows of our hearts and our souls. -- J. B. in Alabama

the vitality of its youth ministries and its missions. -- D. F.

her vision for taking Christ to the world, her compassion for the lost and for one another in Christ, and her altar where we give ourselves to God. How does our church "measure up" in the eyes of the Lord? Remember, the church is made up of people. That's you and me, so the question is really "How do we 'measure up' by His standards?" -- B. in Indiana

what God tells us in His revealed Word. God told Christians to "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice." He told Christians to "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." God told Christians to imitate Him "as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." God reminded all Christians that they were once "darkness, but now you are light in the Lord." God told Christians to "live as children of light." God told Christians that the "fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth." God told Christians to "find out what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:1-10) That's our goal as members of the Body of Christ: to find out what pleases the Lord and then do it. -- M. M.

how they absorb the Love of Christ and the amount of that Love that they pass on to the world at large. -- C. S. P. in Wisconsin

its members' passion for serving Jesus Christ, carrying His love and the hope of salvation into the world, and looking for Christ in the faces of the least, the last and the lost. -- D. K. in Ohio

NOTE: Imagine that the apostle Paul were to write a letter to your church -- much like those he wrote to the churches of his time. Would he begin by thanking God for your church's enduring partnership in the gospel, as he wrote to the Philippians? Or would he thank the Lord for your faith in Jesus and your love for the saints, as he thanked the Ephesians? What would he thank God for about your church? Your church-centered activities and events? Your bigger budget or giving campaign? Your emphasis on spiritual gifts? For further study of this topic, author Gene Getz asks the soul-searching questions we should all ask ourselves in his book The Measure of a Church. Of course, it's squarely up to you to decide how well your church meets the mark. But Getz reminds us all, God has His own yardstick!

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