Renowned football coach Bill Walsh led the San Francisco 49ers to success 102 times over his 10-year career in the National Football League (1979 to 1988). Complementing this impressive record, he was able to amass three Super Bowl wins as well (1981, 1984, and 1988). Coach Walsh recounted his journey in a book published in 2009, titled “The Score Takes Care of Itself.”
When asked about the high level of achievement he enjoyed throughout his career, Coach Walsh attributed much of his success to a resolute focus on growing the culture of the organization instead of worrying about outcomes or his win/loss ratio. Wins were important, of course, but the way the organization worked together toward its goals was just as important—perhaps more so.
“If it Matters, Measure it”
Like any organization seeking to learn and improve, I believe our church should measure progress. The old business axiom states, “If it matters, measure it.” We measure attendance, Bible studies, baptisms, professions of faith, church membership—and so we should—each of these matters. However, it’s also important to remember that metrics alone are unable to provide a complete picture. Numbers represent people—precious souls whom God loves and with whom He longs to share eternity. To focus only on the short-term checking of a box or the tallying of a “win” is to risk ignoring or trivializing the spiritual experience of a person along the way. It could also undermine the value of lifelong spiritual disciplines like prayer, Bible study, personal devotions, and yes, church attendance. Worst of all, it could cause us to emphasize the wrong thing—OUR efforts—bringing glory to ourselves instead of giving it to God.
In the next several weeks, the church staff will be meeting to finalize our calendar for 2019. It will include evangelistic efforts, and several other exciting initiatives we pray will grow God’s kingdom. We ask that you keep this process in prayer, as we take the stewardship of Spencerville’s time, talents, and financial resources very seriously. One particular area in which we seek to grow is the care and discipleship of our members—a sizable task for a church that’s approaching two thousand members. You’ll hear more about this very soon as we flesh out the details.
In closing, discipleship is a journey, and the destination is Heaven—complete fullness in Christ, just as was planned from the beginnings of the earth. Until we reach that destination, and for the time that we’re here, we commit to working toward a culture focused on growing people in Christ. Yes, we will continue to measure the things that are important, but never at the expense of the journey. As we press ahead toward Glory, we invite you to join us in this endeavor. If we get it right, by God’s grace, the score will take care of itself.