We Must Be Careful
...success is not measured by how many people attend our churches
Once it became clear that the Lord was leading our family back to Kansas City in 2010 to be a part of the MBT family, I wanted to learn as much as I could about MBT and what was going on there. One of the basic facts learned was that MBT was a church of approximately 250 people. MBT was only three years old at that time, so that information conveyed to me that MBT was growing.
By God’s grace and obedience to His Word, today, MBT has more than doubled in growth numerically. The numerical growth experience is something that excites the vast majority of pastors in the average church. In their eyes, numerical growth equals both success and spiritual growth. At MBT, because of our faith-based view of the Word of God, which gives us a biblical philosophy of discipleship, we know better. Sure, it’s exciting to have more than doubled in size since 2010. But it would be a travesty if we have not been making disciples since 2010. Simply put, success is not measured by how many people attend MBT. Success is measured by how many disciples are being made from those who attend MBT.
Personally, I am beyond refreshed and encouraged by our conviction to make disciples. Being at the Kansas City Baptist Temple as a new believer, it did not take very long for me to recognize that discipleship really mattered. From the lobby, to the pulpit, to the parking lot and the ball fields, discipleship was a topic of conversation. Praise the Lord, MBT has and continues to develop this culture! However, as encouraging and exciting as this is, WE MUST BE CAREFUL. Before Israel would possess the land, the LORD had a sober warning for them:
Deu 6:10 And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, 11 And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; 12 Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
Israel proved that she did not manage His blessings well and we are as vulnerable.
Sadly, like Israel, believers and local churches alike, are tempted to ditch God after He has so richly blessed. While His blessings should reciprocate in praise and obedience to Him, instead, memory loss and confusion about how and why these blessings came about sets in. Subliminally, certain leaders in the ministry will conclude that their genius and efforts were and are the reason for the success being experienced. Whether it be in our personal lives or in the local church, there is always the concern of the proper management of God’s blessings. Israel proved that she did not manage His blessings well and we are as vulnerable.
God has done so much at MBT and He continues to bless us beyond measure. COD classes have been well attended over the years, fewer people are dropping D1 than in years past, D2 attendance has seen record attendance and more than a few believers are seriously trusting God to go wherever He would send them. The absolute worst thing that we could do with this would be to conclude that “we” are the reason behind this. The moment we land there as a discipleship ministry and as a local church, our days will be numbered with God as a ministry and like many who have gone before us, a spiritual obituary will be written for MBT.
There are still thousands in the Kansas City metropolitan area that are without Christ, which means there are thousands of disciples to be made right here. There are still several churches that must be planted in the Kansas City area, in the United States and abroad. To address this, we must continue winning people to Christ and making disciples who will make disciples.
This is an impossible task without God’s Hand resting on us (Ez. 8:31). The sober truth is that we will lose that if we forget Him. From there, we will simply find ourselves holding services at 40th and Walnut.
Brethren, We Must Be Careful.