Results matter

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Luke2427, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Luke2427

    Luke2427
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    One of the problems we have as a church in this culture is we repudiate the need for results.

    We regurgitate in our pulpits this empty rhetoric that says, "Just be faithful and leave the results up to God."

    Now, technically this is true. But it engenders a very rotten attitude, I think, that allows churches to dry up and die, to reach almost no one every year and then to excuse their sorriness with- "All that matters is that we are faithful."

    But I contend that God expects results- not JUST personal faithfulness.

    I contend that churches that could grow but do not grow will face God's frightful frown at the bema.

    I contend that we are to be results oriented. We are not just to preach the truth and let the chips fall where they may but rather we are to preach the truth in such a way that the chips, if AT ALL possible, will fall in great favor toward the expansion of the Kingdom of God.

    This does not mean that that soul who dedicated his life to winning people to Christ and never got a soul will have no reward. God will indeed reward his faithfulness.

    But it does mean that we are most CERTAINLY to plan and prepare and push for RESULTS.

    Our churches SHOULD be growing with very few exceptions. Many of the ones that CAN'T grow should be shut down and join up with other churches that do grow.

    But our commission is not just to be faithful- but to ACTUALLY baptize the nations.

    If we are not aggressively pressing toward those results- we are committing what may be the worst sin we could commit as Christians.
     
  2. humblethinker

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    Good discussion topic and I find agreement here but, I have a hard time understanding how to motivate determinists or be motivated as a determinist if not to demonstrate my perseverence, namely via 'faithfulness'. What actually happens is what was meant to be afterall, I can only be responsible for what I can contro... Wait... oh crud... This is so demotivating... How can I maintain intelectual integrity as a determinist that believes the the Bible? Should I not wait for something to happen to me?
     
  3. humblethinker

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    It seems that the growth you're talking about is all about building relationships. Determinism is like a vacuum (for me) that sucks out the meaning of 'genuine' and 'relationship' and 'personal': all things necessary to accomplish what you are talking about.
     
  4. 12strings

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    I'll let Luke respond, since he is more of a determinist than I am, but could you clarify whether you are asking because you yourself ARE a determinist who is unmotivated...or whether you are putting yourself in the hypothetical position of a determinist for the purpose of the debate?

    thanks,
     
  5. Earth Wind and Fire

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    OK Rick....how do you propose to grow?
     
  6. Earth Wind and Fire

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    for the sake of this discussion, define your concept of determinist.
     
  7. Tom Bryant

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    A few questions:
    If it is God who give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-7), how do we have control over the results?

    What are the results that we ought to be having? Is it entirely numerical?

    Combining churches sounds good, but many churches that ought and need to be closed are filled with people who resist any change at all. Are they going to move to a church that is probably very different than the one they love or will they go to another "non-productive" church?

    I am just wondering about the phrase "baptize the nations"? Where is that one of the results we ought to be working towards? Baptizing new believers, yes, but nations?

    What about missionaries in Muslim countries where church gorwth is measured in 1's and 2's over decades? Are they going to earn God's frightening frown also?

    And given your particular doctrinal beliefs, what if no one in that area is predestined to eternal life?
     
  8. humblethinker

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    Good questions, thanks for asking. 12strings, I am putting myself in the hypothetical position. EWF, I was referring to holding to Hard Theological Determinism in which free will does not exist, and God has absolute control over a person's actions.

    I don't want to derail this thread any more than it may be from Luke's perspective since he is the original poster. I just wanted to let him know that, if I were hypothetically a partner in the immediate ministry in which he is involved, I would have a perspective that might differ from his due in part to my view of reality. If he wanted to include people like me this might need to be addressed. I don't think that most people, rather just a few people, let this kind of thing bother them. It seems to me that regardless of what a person believes about reality (be it hard theological determinism, EDF, open theism, simple foreknowledge, molinism, arminianism, and other?) one can enter into a relationship of reciprocity, love and faith. That God doesn't let this come between his relationship with them… he accommodates our weaknesses and immaturity and enters into relationship with us. Just because I don't see how a hard theological determinist can appreciate such a relationship doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. I'm not sure how one would deal with people for whom such issues are so important… maybe the best way would be to emphasize tolerance, soul liberty and love for each other and God.

    Maybe Luke would prefer this to be addressed in another thread though... I suspect he would like to discuss other aspects related to his OP.
     
  9. 12strings

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    From a recent interview with Tim Keller:

     
  10. 12strings

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    I'll tackle a few of these:

    I think we would say we Don't have control over the results...but there are certain MEANS that God gives us in scripture that he seems to say will lead to certain results. If we sow the seed, SOME will take root. If we go to the nations, we know that there will be SOME from every tribe and nation (from revelation).

    We know if we sow zero seed, there will be zero crop. We don't know how much the crop will be, or how fast it will grow, but God has said his word will not return void. I think this also addresses the muslim/slow growth question.

    You're right, it is unlikely...but I do know of a church plant outside of Boston Massachusetts that went on for about 15 years, never really grew beyond about 50 people, and eventually decided to disband and go to other churches...I was the worship leader there for 2 years, and knowing the circumstances, the obscure location of their meeting place...I think they made the right decision...those same people can probably be more effective in ministry and outreach than they were in that small church.

    Probably taken from the Great commission..."go to all the nations...baptizing them..."

    See Revelation: Every tribe & tongue.
     
  11. Tom Bryant

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    12strings,
    I think that many of your answers are so American/western centered that they would act as if men and women who minister outside of this area like they are either not faithful or not successful because they are not getting the results some would expect.

    I have no doubt that if you don't sow, you won't reap and you are being disobedient.

    I think it is a stretch that the Great Commission is talking about baptizing nations. It is talking about baptizing disciples.

    It is still God who gives the increase or chooses not to give the increase. We are called to be faithful and let God handle the results.

    And what are the results we are expecting? If a church baptizes 2 people in a given year, should they then close the doors and join in with a church who is baptizing 10? or should both close their doors and join the mega-church down the street? I have no doubt that some churches ought to close their doors. But who gets to make that decision? And what do they base it on?

    I am not sure there is any answer to the OP. But I stopped a long time ago from determining success in God's work to either faithfullness or results, both of which are not mine to determine..
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    There exists a number of people who believe results matters. Joel Osteen believes results matters. Robert Schuller believed results matter. So you might want to ask them how to get good results.
     
  13. 12strings

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    Acts 28:23 - When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets.

    Acts 14:1 - Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.

    Acts 18:4 - And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and tried to persuade Jews and Greeks.



    -It sounds like Paul cared about results...not necessarily specific numbers, but his goal was not SIMPLY to declare the truth, but to pursuade, to reason, to speak in such away as to convince people to turn to Christ.

    Act 18:5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with the word, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus. 6 And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, e“Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. 9 And the Lord said to Paul lone night in ma vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.” 11 And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

    -Here, Paul could have stayed in Macedonia, preaching faithfully when there was no fruit...but instead felt called (admittedly, a unique word from God)...to go to a place where he had good reason to expect results.

    Now, paul did not run away from hardship...or from those who rejected him...but his ministry was for the purpose of conversions, not simply declaration of the Gospel...and yes, he did leave the specifics of results to God.
     
  14. 12strings

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    I'm not saying there will not be seasons when fruit seems to be lacking, and I don't know what results look like specifically...Jonathan Edwards preached faithfully for 20 years in his church before the Great Awakening.

    What I am saying is this: Who among us, especially those of us in church leadership positions, would say that we are doing EVERYTHING God has called us to do for the purpose of making disciples and spreading the Gospel? If we are in a season of seeming fruitlessness, I think there are 2 responses that must both characterize our analysis:

    1. Continue trusting that God's word will not return void, and that God's timing is not our timing, and that God does indeed bring the fruit.

    2. But also examining our own motives and efforts for areas of sin or faithlessness, or laziness, or lack of love for the lost, or preoccupation with the pleasures of the world, or even personal pride in the fact that we are faithfully holding the line even when no fruit is visible. Any of these could be something that God wants us to examine and make changes...which MIGHT lead to more fruitfulness, should God be so pleased.
     
  15. 12strings

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  16. Van

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    Excellent topic

    Setting aside the Calvinist God ordains whatsoever comes to pass mindset, lets look at the need to be wise stewards bringing in a return from the blessings bestowed by God. When we invest in a ministry, lets say the youth program at our church, we need for the ministry staff to report back on the status of the ministry. Ditto for children's ministry and adult ministry.

    I remember looking at the attendance graph for the traditional service compared to the contemporary service. We were growing and needed to having another contemporary service, but the traditional service was flat-lining.

    Bottom line, lots of folks use biblical sounding buss words, to mask ineffective stewardship. Programs without feedback loops to channel resources into productive ministries are failures to "count the cost". Growth in numbers is not the only metric, but without any metric such as baptisms versus new members from other churches, we might become more of fad driven churches rather than Christ driven churches.
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    Who worries simply about sharing the gospel?
     
  18. 12strings

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    There are some who take the mindset of: "I will get the gospel right, and speak it, then my duty is done...it doesn't matter if anyone accepts it." There are some who wear the lack of conversions, or the small size of their church as evidence of how faithful they are being to the Gospel.
     
  19. Revmitchell

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    I seriously doubt there are enough of those to count on your two hands. Much ado about nothing.
     
  20. 12strings

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    I would say you are right only if you are counting those for whom this is their settled theological position on the matter. Very few indeed.

    However, if you include those who would LOVE to see results, who want people to come to Christ, but who don't see it and feel discouraged in ministry...there is definitely the temptation to adopt a similar mindset and put more emphasis on the fact that God willl grant results if he wants to, "so He must just not want me to have any"...than to turn the emphasis on "what could I be doing more to increase the effectiveness of my ministry?"

    That mindset is certainly common, I have seen it myself. It can express itself in a mindset that "I am being faithful..." When in fact they may be faithful in ministering to those who are already Christians, but not to the world.

    There may well be times when a Pastor/church is being faithful in sowing the seed, but when growth simply does not come...but I also believe that If my church is not reaping, The first place I should look is whether or not we are sowing...or just re-shuffling the barn with the crop that was harvested years ago.
     

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