I caught up with Dave Ferguson a few days ago via Skype. He wanted to talk about metrics—the importance of measuring the right things. Dave's questions got me thinking.
I'm not the measuring sort of guy, but I know it's important to track the right things.
From a church planting movements (CPM) perspective there are six essentials we must track. Seeing the need is the first.
1. Seeing the need
Jesus saw the need. He saw that people were lost, like sheep without a shepherd. He saw the 200,000 people who lived in Galilee. He saw every town and village in Galilee—all 175 of them—and he visited each one.
He trained his disciples to see the need in Israel and then to see the need to disciple the nations.
When Peter and the early disciples were stuck only on reaching Jews, Jesus intervened and to shake them up and show them the need of the Gentiles (Acts 10).
When Jesus confronted Saul on the Damascus road, he showed him that both Jews and Gentiles were blind and living in darkness, they needed to be rescued from the power of Satan so they could receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 26:18).
Eventually Paul saw the need of who regions of the Roman Empire. He saw the millions of people who lived between Jerusalem all the way to Rome and beyond. He knew what he job was. He must plant reproducing churches in the major cities from Jerusalem to Illycum (Rom 15:19) before moving to Spain and the western half of the Empire.
When Paul was based in Ephesus he saw the whole city of 200,000 people and the whole region of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and he multiplied workers like Epaphras who reached the cities of Colosse, Laodicea and Hierapolis (Acts 19:10; Col 4:12).
How do we keep track "seeing the need"?
Movement leaders don't ask, "What can I do?" they ask, "What needs to be done?" They don't see just congregations, They see unreached neighbourhoods, cities, regions and nations. . They ask, "What does look like when the job is done?" CPM practitioners call that the "endvision."
If you don't see the need, don't despair. You are in good company—the twelve Apostles, the early church, and Saul who became Paul—none of them saw the need because of a book they read or a brainstorming session or their natural creative genius.
Seeing the need is something you go to God for. You aren't smart enough, or compassionate enough, prayerful enough, or bold enough. You see the need by grace not works.
Next we'll look at: Connecting with people.