Sometimes we find ourselves trying to win at church. We don’t like to admit it, but since we’re among friends, we can be honest in this space. We track all kinds of data attempting to paint a picture of positive progress and success in ministry. However, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. We know this, but somehow, we still get caught up in the numbers. The numbers that often drive what we do in the church, as the church but have no practical relevance to those we serve.
Of course, we can’t do away with the numbers because they provide valuable information, and metrics are important, but they alone will not help us accomplish our goal of evangelizing and discipling the lost. In fact, perhaps we should stop trying to win at church altogether.
In the book, The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek distinguishes between finite and infinite games. In finite games (ex. Basketball) the players are known; the rules are fixed and there is an agreed upon objective that ends the game producing a winner. In infinite games the players can be known and unknown, there are no exact rules and the length of play is infinite. The objective is to keep playing the game. Church is an infinite endeavor. While we strive to “win” souls for Christ, there is no winning church.
When we treat church like a game to be won or lost, we become focused on the minutia…on the numbers, on the programs, on the buildings and create churches with limited growth potential. However, when we exercise an infinite mindset, we create inspiring, innovative churches that are stronger, more resilient and able to thrive in an ever-changing world. While the church ultimately belongs to God, it is our responsibility to manage it in ways that foster long-term health and spiritual growth for generations to come.
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