What If We Ceased To Exist?

It is a sobering question because an honest answer gives a measure of how effectively we are actioning what Christ has asked of us.


Adam Purcell
@adspurcell
What If We Ceased To Exist?

Jesus was pretty direct with us that we are to be “salt and light” in the world (Matthew 5:13-16). In other words, we are to have an impact for Him regardless of where we are positioned, and no matter what we are doing.

The question is though – if we cease to exist, would anyone actually notice?

It is a question we often stop and ask in the ministries we are involved in. If we stop functioning and being active with programs and gatherings, would the community we are supposed to be impacting for Christ actually notice?

It is a sobering question because an honest answer gives a measure of how effectively we are actioning what Christ has asked of us.

If we cease to exist, would anyone actually notice?

However, the reverse is positive. If a community noticed and missed us for what we are doing then it indicates that perhaps, we are on our way to fulfilling the mission Christ has for us in this world.

Three questions that we can ask ourselves:

What impact are we really having?

Our role is to join the mission God has already established in the world we have been positioned and placed within. That mission serves the sole purpose of seeing lives transformed by the power of God.

  • So what impact are we really having?
  • Is what we are doing leading people towards a life transformed by Christ?

I have found in my life that it has been so easy at times to get lost in the bubble of church and ministry. To feel like we are doing amazing effective work in our community only to realise that we are not even noticed or known in the community.

To understand if what we are doing is truly having an impact we have to ask questions like:

  • Are we being salt and light? Adding flavor, being a beacon of hope.
  • Is what we are doing leading people to Christ?
  • Are people’s lives being transformed as they encounter Christ in the work we do?

Do we create meaningful relationships?

If we are creating meaningful relationships then even the thought of ceasing to be a part of that community should cause an ache in our heart at the thought of disconnection. What a great measurement that is.

It is an easy task to ask the question, but if the result would mean a break in a relationship – well, that is a great measurement of the impact we are having.

When Jesus told us that the two most important commandments are to love God and to love each other, we can know that we are on the path to fulfilling those commandments if we have created meaningful relationships within our community.

Not simply relationships that are about fulfilling a program or with the intent to see greater attendance, but with love for people to genuinely see the best life lived as they encounter Christ.

If we are creating meaningful relationships not only would it be noticed if we ceased to exist, but it would hurt to walk away from that community.

Are we creating sustainability?

I have often served in a context that was made possible through funding from grants or donations. If I truly want to have an impact in that community then I need the mission to be sustainable; not for just a short period of time. This is often a challenge when a funding source is making the logistics possible.

To have an impact and to create meaningful relationships takes time and therefore requires sustainability.

These are questions that I often ask in the context of evaluation.

  • Am I having an impact?
  • Are we creating meaningful relationships that will build sustainability?
  • Would I still do this even without the funding? (A check of my personal motivations).

I often share with people my view on working within our communities within the context of The Salvation Army. How we serve communities is constantly evolving. Their needs change, the priorities of government move and the media generates different sectors or concerns to focus on. This so often has an impact on the how and when we do things.

However, since 1865 there has been a constant within our communities – a local Corps (Church) who live and operate with a mandate to love God, and love people and create such a meaningful presence that their departure would be noticed. If we ceased to exist, it would be noticed.

 

Photo by ashutosh nandeshwar on Unsplash

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