I like the transition that occurs in Acts. In the early chapters success was measured in precise numbers that were added to the growing local church (Acts 2:41; 5:41). Later, the success was measured by how “the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region (Acts 13:49).” Once the church transitioned to become a more organic decentralized movement success was measured by how many churches were growing stronger in faith and being added to the movement on a daily basis (Acts 16:5). Eventually, success was measured by the fact that “all who were in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks (Acts 19:20).” Did you catch that? It doesn’t just say that the word could be found in every place of Asia, as if The Gideons were there and left a free Bible in the nightstand—as incredible as that would be. It says that every person who was in Asia, Jew or Greek, had heard God’s message! Talk about reaching a people group!
What happens when we celebrate things that don’t matter and ignore the ones that do? I asked that very question on my Facebook page recently and received a ton of interesting responses. Perhaps the saddest was the simple reply: “You get church.” Ouch.
We fuel what we celebrate. When we turn inward and hide in our own selfish bubble we lose a grasp of reality. We become deluded into a place of selfish consumerism and passive opinions that count for little more than the whining of a spoiled child. Our true north is lost and we spiral into a deeper and deeper level of deception as we invest more in what we think is success. We think we are doing well when in fact we long ago took the off ramp from God’s true missional agenda and are now lost in a maze of new programs for ourselves, for our organizational prosperity.