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Faithfulness and fruitfulness

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Crossridge Church commissions its members to plant a new church in Poco. PHOTO: Jaime Healy

“I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Revelation 3:8).

How do we evaluate the “success” of a church plant?

Crossridge Church officially launched Sept. 25, 2011, as part of the C2C Network. Six years seems like a good amount of time to evaluate how things are going, but how do you effectively measure church health?

The usual metrics are the ABCs: attendance, buildings and cash. How many people are coming? Does the church have its own facilities? Is the church self-sustaining?

By God’s grace, we have seen steady growth in attendance from Day 1.

We consider the facilities we now own to be a gift from God.

We rejoice that we are a self-sustaining ministry, able to bless other ministries financially.

Those aren’t wrong measurements, but they don’t tell the full story.

From the beginning, we have tried to measure our health by two factors: faithfulness and fruitfulness. Rather than create an either/or dichotomy, we attempt to see both/and: faithfulness leads to fruitfulness.

For Crossridge, faithfulness is living out our mission as a church: to know Jesus and make him known. We strive to proclaim God’s Word and to take seriously the responsibility to disciple those entrusted to our care.

Fruitfulness takes many different shapes. It looks like the Muslim man who surrendered his life to Christ, and the woman with a Buddhist and Roman Catholic background who got baptized. It looks like the dad who led his son to Christ, and the men and women who are actively engaged in studying God’s Word.

One of the most encouraging signs of fruitfulness is multiplication. We partnered with Northview Church, Abbotsford, and Westside Church, Vancouver, to plant TriCity Church in Port Coquitlam, B.C., in September.

This has been bittersweet. The difficult part has been saying goodbye to a good number of quality people who were actively involved in our ministry. The sweet part is knowing that there is another gospel-centred church in our region. While we’re always happy to add people to our local church, we believe that multiplication is even better than addition.

In the end, the only evaluation that matters is the one that Jesus gives. The question for all churches is: Are we seeking to be faithful to his name and fruitful for his mission?

[Lee Francois is lead pastor at Crossridge Church, Surrey, B.C.

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