Wednesday, October 03, 2007


A few weeks ago, we had our church annual celebration of ministries. It has morphed over the last few years from voting and volunteer-wrangling to remembrance of God-filled moments, sharing new ideas and opportunities, and testimony. And lunch. Did I mention lunch?

This year, our facilities manager (who is also our evangelism geek) wanted to do an exercise to help people talk about their faith. Our folks tend to feel that talking about their faith is somehow wrong, and definitely difficult: wrong because proselytizing; difficult because unreflected upon. So he set up three questions for each person to write a sentence answer and then share their answers with one other person. The questions were: "How has your relationship with Christ changed over the last 5 years?" "How have God and Jesus impacted your life?" and "Why do you attend and are active in this church?" His idea was that by answering those three questions they would have the base for a conversation about their faith.

Toward the end he asked people to share anything they wanted to. The first person to speak was a first time visitor, a very young man, who spoke enthusiastically about being invited to stay to lunch, and about his own journey. A few others spoke as well. (I wish I could explain how amazing that is all by itself -- it's so new.)

Then our evangelist geek collected all the cards people had written on, and made lists of what they'd said. I just read them this morning.

In this line of work, like many other vocations that are people-focused, it can be very hard to count successes. We're not a "turn-or-burn" church, and we don't believe that profession under duress or ecstasy is the primary marker of faith. Though we have a membership roster, on a daily basis it's irrelevant. But the temptation to quantify is deep: we want some way of knowing how we're doing.

Mostly, how we're doing is determined by what we see happening in people's lives. Highly unquantifiable. Often unmarkable.

So reading people's answers to the questions was heartening. The light of Christ was gleaming in nearly every word. Of course, the people who were there and answered were the most likely to be gleaming, but the shine was no less real, no less a qualifiable "Amen", if not a quantifiable count.

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