I’m not exactly happy with the fact that this photo shows Larry Fitzgerald scoring agains the Panthers, but you have to admit that it’s a cool shot.
It also demonstrates the fact that football teams know exactly when they are successful: when they cross the goal line. There is no ambiguity there. The goal line is always before them.
In a lot of church life, however, there is a great deal of ambiguity around “success” or “effectiveness.” We’ve had no small amount of that uncertainty at Good Shepherd. How do we know when we are effective?
As part of the launching of the new mission of inviting all people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ, we’ve tried to remove that ambiguity by spelling out what a living relationship with Jesus looks like.
We’ve identified seven measures in the life of a Christian that indicate a living relationship as opposed to a dead religion:
Saved By Grace.
People in a living relationship with Christ embrace the Gospel truth that they are saved by grace. For some, this will happen in a decisive encounter while for others it will be a gradual realization. For all, it results in gratitude for Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Filled With The Spirit.
And then they will be filled with him again. And again. Through fervent prayer and passionate worship, people encounter the supernatural power of the Spirit who sends them into ministry.
Maturing In Faith.
People with a living relationship with Christ continually mature in their discipleship. For many, but not all, Life Groups will be a primary venue for spiritual maturity.
Serving In Love.
People with a living relationship with Christ develop a servant life-style by joining in Serve Teams which help both church and community.
Consistent In Relationships.
People with a living relationship with Christ live their faith in their homes first of all. The people of Good Shepherd preserve marriages, honor parents, and encourage children.
Generous With Resources.
People with a living relationship with Christ recognize that all they have comes from God and so are glad to give generously to his work.
Sharing The Gospel.
People with a living relationship with Christ acknowledge eternal realities and share the Gospel and its life-giving power with people far from Christ wherever they live. The invited become inviters.
Those measures make up our goal line. I pray we’ll have a lot of Larry Fitzgeralds strivintg to cross it.