Yesterday I promised to “make the argument that biblical faithfulness and effectiveness are not synonymous, and conclude by urging you to focus on biblical faithfulness over against mere effectiveness.” Promise delivered…sort of.
In one sense the above paragraph is ridiculous. To be effective simply means to produce the intended result. So, if your intended result is to be biblically faithful, and you are, then you are effective. But that’s not what I necessarily mean by “being effective”.
I’ll make this simple and not unnecessarily wordy. You cannot control results in your church. And if you think you can then they aren’t the type of results that you want. There is not a formula that says if you follow this model then God will be pleased with your church and it will grow. Yes, there are established means that God uses. But there are men that have been ridiculously faithful (see Richard Greenham, who doesn’t even have a page on Wikipedia) and have seen little visible fruit (see the prophet Jeremiah or even Jesus).
Speaking of Jesus I wonder what the back of his bestseller would look like. Would it be filled with all sorts of buzzwords? What would be his selling point? Biblically faithful or producing mass results. Perhaps one blurb could read:
“Jesus, once had thousands following him until he invited his audience to feed on his flesh. Since then Jesus has a small band of loyal followers.”
At the end of the day what Jesus was more concerned with was biblical faithfulness and not mass results. That was the grid he used to measure his success. And that should be our attitude as well. Consider this from Paul:
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. (1 Cor. 3:6-8)
Focus on faithfully planting and faithfully watering. But this isn’t all the revolutionary is it. Tomorrow I will present to you a chart showing the difference of focus between the biblically faithful model and the effective model.