It is common practice for a struggling company to call in a consultant – someone that can help the management team identify underlying problems and make improvement recommendations. While Senior Managers tend to focus on the standard financial reports (e.g., the balance sheet and income statement), the wise consultant knows that financial “struggling” is most often a symptom of poorly managed and measured activities further up the production lifecycle.

And so, they go looking. What they usually find are areas of the company that are trying to manage themselves using production and performance measurements that no longer match the vision and values of the company.

Take the church for example. I mean the church that Jesus Christ is building. That church has come upon hard times – particularly in North America and Europe. We have gotten to the point where measurements are no longer needed to recognize our struggles. The end product is certainly not up to the Master’s standards.

There are at least two reasons the Western church is struggling. First, we are measuring the wrong things. Secondly, we are not doing things God’s way. Put those together and we can say that the Western church is failing to measure itself in the way God has prescribed.

So, where do we start measuring in the right way? Scripture makes it clear that the shepherds will be held responsible for the health of their flocks (Hebrews 13:17). If I was the Master’s consultant, that is where I would begin.

Sometimes it is hard to point out the right way to do something without first identifying what’s being done wrong. In this case, I am relieved that such an approach is not necessary. Why is this? Because whatever way is not God’s way is the wrong way – and get this – no matter how successful that way may appear.

But who am I to judge? Exactly! Judgment is not my intent, nor is it my responsibility. I’m just the consultant. We are called to judge ourselves… and for good reasons.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. 1Corinthians 11:31-32

If we will not judge ourselves, the Lord will judge us. In either case, the chastening and correction are for our good and the good of our ministries. No one is perfect. The wise leader makes an assessment on a regular basis.

4 Measures of a Minister

In 2Timothy, Paul establishes the measure of a minister.

  1. Determined to guard the gospel as a sacred deposit to them (vv. 1:13-14) – and to do so without compromise.
  2. Faithful to proclaim the gospel (v. 1:6). Jesus came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God – the unconditional reign of God over every part of a person’s life.
  3. Ready to suffer for the gospel (v. 1:8). This includes the ridicule, reviling and rejection of peers and congregants.
  4. Diligent to pass it on to others (v. 2:2). Jesus discipled twelve – and seemed to work at keeping the numbers low.

In most companies, upstream measurements tend to drift away from the core vision and values. This is not surprising. Some regular tweaking is to be expected.

What is so striking about the Western church is how inside-out the measures have become. For example, Jesus did not count members, nor did He instruct His disciples to measure in this way. Our insisting to do so compromises each of the four Biblical measures presented here. We are, in effect, allowing ourselves to be conformed to the world. When will we recognize the dangerous position we have taken – standing opposed to the ways of God?

God bless you with the wisdom and courage to return to God’s perfect ways (Psalm 18:30) and avoid His condemnation.

Humbly yours and forever His,