One of the sources of pastoral difficulty over the past few years has been the score card for church success that I've used to measure how we're doing as a church. The measure of "success" has always been bodies, budget and buildings: How many do you have in attendance, how much money is coming in and how much building space do you have. Pastors know how it feels to preach to a half empty church or they find out the giving report and it's faithfully below the weekly budget. and when they get home at the end of the day, they're really discouraged.
I guess in the last few weeks, I have started to see things differently. Sunday "attendance" is not as important as Monday-Saturday church life. If the church is interacting with each other during the week doing life on life fellowship, prayer and mission then that's something to feel good about when you arrive on Sunday. When the usual empty seats are due to sickness, vacations or whatever, they're not so much of a bummer when you know that the church is actually functioning like a living organism more than on Sunday morning.
The real score card for church success isn't really something as tangible as bodies, budges and buildings. It's more of an intangible thing like growth in godliness, growth in knowledge, unity, loving interaction and stories of gospel witness encounters. Transformed lives, fruitfulness and hunger for holiness is a better measure of a successful church. When Sunday is down for some reason, it won't be such a big deal if these other intangibles are present in the life of the church.
By the word "Reforming" I am speaking of "reviving and renewing" The essence of this kind of reformation is the enrichment of understanding God's truth, arousing the affections Godward, and increasing devotion to Him. - J.I. Packer