MAKING A PROFIT

Services

Sundays - 8:00 AM Liturgical & 10:30 AM Contemporary

by: Mt. Calvary Admin

10/22/2021

0

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" -Mark 8:36

I love sports, especially football, but there is one thing that will ruin any game for me: an overabundance of statistics. Average yards per carry. Average yards per passing attempt. Points allowed by a defense per game. Average number of pancake blocks. Turn­over margin. You name it, there's a statistic for it. 

Do you want to know the only statistic that matters in a football game? The score. The winner is determined by who has the most points. Period. It doesn't matter if the visiting team commits more turnovers than the home team, whichever team has the most points will win the game ... 100% of the time. 

Are some of these statistics markers of how someone might win a game? Absolutely. But some teams can overcome bad statistics to put up more points than their opponent and win the game. 

The same thing happens with churches, and I hear it happening from time to time at Mt. Calvary. There are three statistics that we focus on that may or may not determine if we are winning. I like to call them: the ABC's 

Attendance: If our average weekly attendance is increasing, we must be winning, right? Not necessarily. It just means that we have more people coming to church, but we don't know why they are coming or if they're staying. We may have a bunch of new visitors each week, but none are staying to become members.

Building: If our average spending on building maintenance increases, we must be winning, right? If our church looks good on the inside and out, we must be winning. Not necessarily. In most churches where I've served, people will give to a building at the drop of a hat but struggle to give to the regular budget. This has caused some beautiful churches to become empty and decommissioned. 

Cash: If our checking account balance or savings account balance is healthy, then we must be winning as a church, right? Not necessarily. It may mean that the congregation has more faith in a savings account than in God who provides the resources. It may mean that a congregation desires to become so self-reliant that they no longer need God for anything. It may mean that a congregation is burying the talents that God has given them rather than using them to increase His kingdom (see Matthew 25:14-30).

How do we know we are doing things right as a church? How do we know we are winning? Simply put: people. The profit of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church is found in baptisms, confirmations, and people joining our congregation. To be sure, in order for that to happen we need to see attendance in a well-cared for building that has some cash. But we are excelling in the ABC's and not seeing new people enter the kingdom of God, we are not turning a profit. Conversely, if we are seeing people enter the kingdom of God and are squeezed in the ABC's, well, we're still winning. 

Our profit is measured in lives changed by and people connected to our Savior, Jesus Christ. If we are faithful in undertaking this mission of Christ, the ABC's will become elementary and take care of themselves.

In Christ, 

Pastor Tom Vanderbilt

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?" -Mark 8:36

I love sports, especially football, but there is one thing that will ruin any game for me: an overabundance of statistics. Average yards per carry. Average yards per passing attempt. Points allowed by a defense per game. Average number of pancake blocks. Turn­over margin. You name it, there's a statistic for it. 

Do you want to know the only statistic that matters in a football game? The score. The winner is determined by who has the most points. Period. It doesn't matter if the visiting team commits more turnovers than the home team, whichever team has the most points will win the game ... 100% of the time. 

Are some of these statistics markers of how someone might win a game? Absolutely. But some teams can overcome bad statistics to put up more points than their opponent and win the game. 

The same thing happens with churches, and I hear it happening from time to time at Mt. Calvary. There are three statistics that we focus on that may or may not determine if we are winning. I like to call them: the ABC's 

Attendance: If our average weekly attendance is increasing, we must be winning, right? Not necessarily. It just means that we have more people coming to church, but we don't know why they are coming or if they're staying. We may have a bunch of new visitors each week, but none are staying to become members.

Building: If our average spending on building maintenance increases, we must be winning, right? If our church looks good on the inside and out, we must be winning. Not necessarily. In most churches where I've served, people will give to a building at the drop of a hat but struggle to give to the regular budget. This has caused some beautiful churches to become empty and decommissioned. 

Cash: If our checking account balance or savings account balance is healthy, then we must be winning as a church, right? Not necessarily. It may mean that the congregation has more faith in a savings account than in God who provides the resources. It may mean that a congregation desires to become so self-reliant that they no longer need God for anything. It may mean that a congregation is burying the talents that God has given them rather than using them to increase His kingdom (see Matthew 25:14-30).

How do we know we are doing things right as a church? How do we know we are winning? Simply put: people. The profit of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church is found in baptisms, confirmations, and people joining our congregation. To be sure, in order for that to happen we need to see attendance in a well-cared for building that has some cash. But we are excelling in the ABC's and not seeing new people enter the kingdom of God, we are not turning a profit. Conversely, if we are seeing people enter the kingdom of God and are squeezed in the ABC's, well, we're still winning. 

Our profit is measured in lives changed by and people connected to our Savior, Jesus Christ. If we are faithful in undertaking this mission of Christ, the ABC's will become elementary and take care of themselves.

In Christ, 

Pastor Tom Vanderbilt

cancel save

0 Comments on this post: