What is required to be "successful" as a congregation? That is an unanswerable question. It is much too broad. Before an answer can be attempted, two other questions must be asked and answered.

What is the definition of "success?" Favorable attendance statistics? Baptisms? People placing membership? Ministries functioning? Activities occurring at the building? Activities occurring in the home? Facilities available? Utilization of facilities? Utilization of congregational resources? Utilization of member resources? Transformation of individual lives? Biblical positions assumed? Struggling people helped? Marriages saved? Marriages strengthened? Families equipped and strengthened? Families preserved? Teens helped? Divorced persons helped and guided? Single parent families sustained? Single adults helped and utilized? Benevolent work in the congregation? Benevolent work in the community? Benevolent work in the world? Interaction within the congregation? Interaction within the community? Internal image of the congregation? External image of the congregation? Equipping people to serve? Quality of the preaching? Quality of the classes? Quality of the leadership? Percentage of the membership serving and involved? Preparation for the future?

What is the congregation's basic objective? In what specific ways is that objective God centered? Christ centered? Spirit centered? mercy centered? forgiveness centered? service centered? people centered? freedom centered? eternity centered?

Considering only these matters, the essential link between being an informed and being a successful congregation is obvious. An informed congregation is composed of informed individuals. That means an informed "us" depends on an informed "me."

Raising the awareness level of its members is an enormous challenge in any active congregation. For the staff and leaders, the challenge is (a) providing the information and (b) getting your attention. For members, the challenge is (a) caring and (b) staying informed.

Sunday evenings in July will be devoted to increasing awareness. The 4th: "Getting it Together." The 11th: the Guyana report. The 18th: VBS 1999, which begins the next day. The 25th: C.U.R.E. presents a fifteen minute overview of 1999 projects.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 4 July 1999

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