How a Church is Judged

Rick Warren once said, “The church is judged by its sending capacity, not its seating capacity.” That statement rings true and really impacted me.

“Sending capacity” means what the church can be mobilized to go and do, rather than what people will naturally come and see.

Over the last few months, we have begun to expand our sending obligations, the partnerships through which we want to affect the city and the church.

Current Partnerships

We are still in the process of reinvigorating Christian education at Abundant Life Christian School. Things are going well, but that is still a work in progress.

We have opened our church on Tuesday nights for The Faith Place (formerly Faith, Hope, and Love Church in Sun Prairie) to have their midweek Bible study and explore the possibility of starting a campus on the west side.

Rios, a Latino church plant meets at 2:00pm in our sanctuary on Sundays. We’ve been trying for more than a year to help that church get off the ground.

We have become involved in Mount Zion’s leadership transition, helping supply preaching and transition aid while they look for new long-term senior leadership.

We’ve partnered with Hope and a Future ministry, a home for frail elderly people teaming up with single mothers and younger adults that need mentoring. It’s a new model for an integrated community. We helped them do a lot of landscaping in May, and we’ve already supported them in a few ways as they get off the ground.

In addition, we are still working out our Dominican Republic developmental partnership through Hands of Hope in conjunction with Crossroads Church on the east side, which is a Christian Reformed Church. We’re still working on the scope and duration of this ministry and trying to figure out how much is “doing all we can,” and how much is too much for us to take on at this stage in our church’s life. This partnership is going to make a big difference in people’s lives. It will also give us ample opportunity to have direct experience in this kind of ministry.

Dependent on the Church

I want to really encourage you to pray for our staff and elders who are in charge of forming the parameters for these partnerships. I hope you’ll also pray for the ministries themselves, especially Rios, because I feel like they are getting the least attention.

Ultimately, however, all of these partnerships depend not on the leadership staff but on all of us as a church. It depends on our sending capacity. It depends on how many people are becoming less focused on maintaining control of their own schedules and more focused on making the gospel known to all people.

Rick Warren once said that the model of his church is to “get people from ‘come and see’ to ‘come and die.’” He kind of took that from Jesus. We know we are gathering people and filling our seating capacity when many come to see what we’re doing as a church. But we know that we are making disciples who really believe the gospel when we have people willing to put to death their own schedules, disposable income, and the way they would normally arrange their spare time to transpose it into mechanisms for being part of God’s gospel purposes.

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