How do you measure impact?
Those who are drawn here because of the gloomy statistics, however noble their intentions, often do not stay long. The high turnover in McDowell County teachers, medical professionals, ministry workers, and those in government agencies is revealing. If you set out to reduce the rates of poverty, unemployment, obesity, diabetes, drug abuse, teen pregnancies, and child abuse, and increase the educational attainment of the young people here, you would get discouraged. Those statistics have not improved here as long as they have been tracked.
Those who are driven to fix these statistics and only measure impact by improvement in these numbers are likely to quit.
But does that tell-all? How do you quantify the impact of relationships?
After we count the number of homes repaired, the number of youth served in programs, the number of hours in-home visits to teach parents, the number of short-term missionaries challenged, and the number of individuals who join us in worship in our missional communities we could be tempted to think these are measures of success. But the numbers do not reveal the impact for eternity. The truth is, the reason we stay here is because of the relationships. The reason we paint a house is so that the homeowner will understand that we love him. The paint will peel again.
If we applied the same questions to the three-year ministry of Jesus, how would He measure up? He invested almost all of His time into the lives of 12 men, and taught them, and empowered them by the Holy Spirit to teach others and to change the world. Within a generation, the Good News had spread, and even under brutal persecution, countless lives were eternally changed.
That’s the impact we are after, and why we do what we do.
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