PA Pastors’ Network: It’s Time to Change How Success is Measured in U.S.

PHILADELPHIA –Thanksgiving Day weekend in America today:  Men turn on football and women charge to the mall. After overstuffing ourselves on holiday meals, the focus is rarely on giving thanks for what we have, but on asking ‘what more can we get?’ The ads in newspapers, online and on TV promise savings, free shipping and a glorious Christmas this year, if you buy the “right stuff.”  Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network (PPN, www.papastors.net) asks a poignant question: Is the Church guilty of accepting the same flawed measurements that the current culture accepts?

According to a CNN article and ShopperTrak, a retail industry research firm, spending numbers for last Thursday’s and Friday’s overall store sales rose 2.3% from last year to $12.3 billion. They also reported that more shoppers are choosing to shop on Thanksgiving Day. An IBM survey says year-over-year total online sales grew 19.7% this past Thanksgiving Day and nearly 19% on Black Friday, yet, the National Retail Association said that over the entire four day weekend, spending actually fell 2.9% to 57.4 Billion.

This prompts Sam Rohrer, president of the PA Pastors’ Network and the American Pastors’ Network (APN, AmericanPastorsNetwork.net) to ask, does our national health and prosperity rise and fall on changing retail sales estimates?  If so, Rohrer feels that the nation is overdue to change how we rate the overall “health” and success of the U.S.

Rohrer states, “True success, progress and ‘health’ are not determined by retail spending. When the number of people visiting the mall is more important than the number of families sitting down to eat and giving thanks, or the number of people dreaming of getting more things they don’t really need is larger than the number of people thanking God for His blessings and the birth of His son Jesus Christ, we are indeed on shaky ground. Rather than measuring covetousness, isn’t it time for Christians and the Church at large to start measuring the things that give a truer indication of health and progress? Let’s lead the way in measuring family health – fidelity in marriage, husbands loving wives, wives honoring husbands, children obeying parents. Let’s measure helping our neighbors in need, tithing, and giving of our time and resources to God. Let’s measure success in repairing broken relationships with others, repentance to God for our looking to government for answers, and sharing the Good News of the Gospel with a desperate and confused world.  Let’s measure our success by living out a Biblical worldview that has all the answers in a culture that is floundering and without any real answers. While retail sales is a legitimate number to know, in the absence of more foundational measurements, it is a waste of time and energy and means little to our spiritual health and success which must be in place before any other areas of life thrive.”

Retail analysts are expecting lackluster holiday sales due to many things including concern about the 2014 economy and the specter of another government fiscal crisis early in the year.  Morgan Stanley analysts say that this has “dampened confidence on the cusp of holiday shopping.” Sam Rohrer, the PPN and the APN say “…confidence comes when God measures our actions in the areas important to Him –the areas that last – and pours out His blessings because we value the things He does. There is a very real reason why God says, ‘Blessed,’ – happy, successful, prosperous – ‘is the nation whose God is the LORD.’”

As part of their commitment to support pastors in preaching boldly from a biblical worldview, PPN offers sermon notes and other helps on a variety of cultural topics through their PPN Resource Library. To download any of these resources pastors or lay people can go to the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network website at www.papastors.net.

The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a group of biblically faithful clergy and church liaisons whose objective is to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded clergy who affirm the authority of Scripture, take seriously Jesus’ command to be the “salt and light” to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues; examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in our political process on a non-partisan basis.

The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a state chapter affiliate of the American Pastors’ Network.  The American Pastors’ Network is a Ministry Program Affiliate of Capstone Legacy Foundation (a 501 C3 non-profit organization).

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