It appears that the more someone was practicing spiritual disciplines and portraying a close walk with Christ, the less value they found in their local church. It also appears that the church was creating a lot of Christ followers who were dependent upon the church for their growth. Instead they would like to see Christians who were growing on their own. Hybels coined a term "self-feeders" that seems to have gained some traction.
I really liked the idea of measuring the Church's "success" by trying to measure Spiritual Growth. I don't know if you can measure spiritual growth, but it makes more sense to me than always measuring effectiveness by attendance to services and programs.
This week I found the blog of David Fitch. I must say, most of what he writes is really resonating with me. He has written a few articles about REVEAL. They make a lot of sense to me. I found this post to be tremendously thought provoking.
I also really liked his post about Evangelism or Witness - Why Character Matters. Here's a quote from his article...
I've been ruminating about this for a few weeks because I am in the middle of a writing project that describes how "the kinds of people we are" is absolutely essential for our witness. More than anything else (I argue), it is the kind of character we exhibit in our lives in everyday life before the hurting, downtrodden and lost that God shall inhabit to spread the good news. This is more than individual character; it is the character we exhibit as a people together and in the world.
If this is true, pastors must guide their churches differently. For our focus can not be lazered upon organizing for numbers, the production of "decisions for Christ," programs to entertain children in the hopes they will want to be Christians because its cool. Instead, we must organize with the purpose of discipleship, spiritual formation into Christ. For it will be out of this that His Mission shall flow with such integrity it cannot be stopped. And we will not have the time or concern to count numbers and/or decisions.
On the flip side, Scot Mcknight - the busiest blogger on the planet - (and one of my favorites) who attends Willow Creek has an article on Reveal as well. I look forward to this conversation as it continues.
I am thankful for Hybels and Willow and what they bring to the table for evangelism. I'm sure I'll be revisiting this topic in the future. For now it looks like I have a lot of reading and thinking to do.