Churches exist at every point on the health spectrum, from imminent death to thriving growth. Many churches are dying because they haven’t done anything kingdom focused in years. Others are providing intentional discipleship but seem to want all the benefits to remain in house.
Still other churches are basking in the fruit of years of intentional discipleship and ministry, but recoil at the idea that God may desire to send some of that fruit out … permanently. If churches and pastors labor for their name and fame, their ministry reach will be short. Why? Because everything is kept or killed based on their personal ROI — return on investment.
While a personal return is better than no return, I want to challenge you to think in terms of KROI —– kingdom return on investment. This emphasis reminds us that all we do is ultimately about the kingdom of God. It rescues us from worrying about what we gain from or what we invest in ministry. All our resources (people, time, money) were given by God for His glory, not ours. Consequently, we never lose when we invest in His kingdom work. What does this look like in real time? Consider the following scenarios:
• When our best couple leaves the church for the mission field, we win.
• When God sends out some of our best members to serve other churches, we win.
• When our pastor leaves to do a more fruitful work elsewhere, we win.
• When people leave our church to serve God more faithfully in another church, we win.
• When we send out church members to plant other churches instead of keeping them to help our church grow larger, we win.
In other words, success is not ultimately defined by the ebb and flow of our church membership. Furthermore, being serious about local church membership and ministry and having solid theology are not opposed to looking beyond the walls of our churches; in fact, they demand it!
So, would you …
• Encourage your members to go to the mission field?
• Send members out to answer the call to ministry?
• Give up members to go plant churches (that usually reach more people than established churches)?
You just might find that your church makes more use of its resources, produces more fruit, experiences renewed joy and purpose and sees God abundantly replace all that you thought you gave away. May God give us the grace to send out what was never ours to keep! B&R