Bob Roberts Jr. is pastor of church in Fort Worth, TX that gets it.
They are one of two churches I know of who's stated vision is more for the community than for the church. Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City is the other (I'm sure there are more, I just don't know of them). They are, in a word, missional. It's not that other churches aren't (like ours for instance), it's just that the vision statements tend to be self-referential.
Bob's latest comment on 'New Metrics for the Church' rang my bell, so I commented on his comment (this whole blogging thing is also a little self-referential if I'm not careful).
Typically a church's metrics are butts in seats, budgets raised and buildings erected. Basically it's all attractional--"come to us for the goods." If those things are going up and to the right, then we're happy. Certainly some good is done with those things, but what if we changed the game entirely?
What if we instead counted number of butts outside the church walls we served, budgets given to serve the community, the poor and the needy, and building consensus and vision in our people and the community that creates justice in the world? Jesus "so loved the world", my question is do we? We can talk all we want about how we do, but until we put our metrics behind it, I'm not sure we're really doing it.
What’s so scary is that giving up the attractional paradigm means we don’t know where the money is coming from, if the people will “buy into” the vision (I think people have an innate sense that the church should be doing good–which is why they won’t give to a “keep the machine running” vision) and stick around, and if we can be important and influential without buildings. Thoughts?