"We want our fingerprints to be everywhere, and our names to be nowhere." —Paul Loyless
My good friend Paul Loyless of Compassion International made this statement while we were on a vision trip to Peru last year. It’s a guiding principle behind what Compassion is doing around the world, and I love it. When you visit a Compassion project in any country they serve, you never see the ‘Compassion International’ name on the building or piece of material. Their name is nowhere to be found — but their impact is felt throughout the entire community.
When you look at the ministries your church is engaged in, does this same principle hold?
If you’re struggling with the answer, that’s okay — it’s a tough question. But it’s a necessary question. It’s a heart and head check each church leader should conduct on a regular basis.
Does notoriety or impact drive your approach to outreach?
To help find the answer, consider exploring the following questions:
- When we serve people in our community, are their strings attached? Is our assistance contingent upon us sharing the gospel every chance we get? (I’m in no way suggesting that we not share the gospel. I’m simply asking you to look at your priorities. Are you meeting needs first, or pushing your agenda first?)
- Do you seek to partner with the people or organizations who are closest to the need, or do you send in your own 'army' branded with your own logo?
- Do you truly care for and about the people who show up to serve? Do you know who showed up, or just who signed up? Are you tracking what’s different about these people after they’ve served? Do they connect more with your church? Do they give more? Do they serve more, or again? In what areas? Tracking these behaviors shows you whether your service to others is truly helping your church members become more like Jesus or just helping them feel better about themselves.
As church leaders, it’s our job to help our people become the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us. We want to leave His fingerprints everywhere we go. We want to make His name greater than our own. By keeping our motivations in check, and asking Him to check our hearts and heads, we can do that for everyone around us.