Are You Watching the Right Gauges?

By Larry Barker

DashboardThe advances of technology have been amazing over the last ten to fifteen years.  This progress can be seen every day when you drive your vehicle.  The options now available on the steering wheel and dashboard of a car are amazing.  They used to only include; speedometer, odometer, water temperature, oil pressure, and a gas gauge.  Today you can answer your phone, manage the stereo, and set your cruise control from the buttons on your steering wheel.  The dashboard has a computer that can tell you when you have a low tire and when you need an oil change.  It can even calculate your fuel range, average fuel economy, and much more.

Even though these accessories are nice and make things much easier for us, the standard speedometer, odometer, gas gauge, etc, is still there.  These gauges or warning lights tell us how well the vehicle is running.  While it is very easy to become fascinated with all of the new bells and whistles you must keep your eyes on the gauges that matter.  Music can make a long trip far more enjoyable, and cruise control is awesome, but those advancements do not ensure that the engine has what it needs for its best performance.   Are you focusing on the right dials, on your life dashboard, which will tell you how healthy you are spiritually, emotionally, and physically?

Wayne Cordeiro, in Leading on Empty, talks about twelve “dials” on the dashboard of an airplane.  He says,”Yes, a central concern is certainly getting from Point A to Point B in a timely fashion, but the lives and safety of those on board are more important.”  You cannot see the engine and know what the oil pressure or water temperature is without gauges but these critical components need to be monitored.  Cordeiro says, “My “dashboard” includes twelve dials that meter vital systems essential to my health and success.”  We must be focused on the dials and gauges that are true indicators of how well our lives are running in the eyes of the Lord.  Here are some gauges on the dashboard of life that really matter:

  • Spiritual Walk – Are you daily seeking Him and His face or are you just going through the motions?  Because of so many bells and whistles in church life today it is easy to interpret our activity as spiritual health, but not necessarily.  “If you aren’t getting your sense of well being vertically, you will shop for it horizontally and always come up short.” –Paul Tripp
  • Marriage and Family - Are you the spiritual leader in your home?  Does your family see the same person at home that they see at church?  You must not allow ministry to make you one-dimensional.  Take time to walk, talk, and pray together.  “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.” –Wm Bruce Cameron
  • Missional Living – Are you focused on those in your circle of influence who do not know Jesus Christ personally?  What are you doing about it?  It is estimated that there are enough people in churches right now to see the Great Commission fulfilled in our life time.  Right now!  “When it comes to the gospel, some Christians just click “like” instead of “share.” –Burk Parsons
  • Discipleship – Do you have a process of discipleship that is easily reproducible?  Is your process effective in producing healthy disciples?  Are you personally being discipled and are you discipling someone?  Everyone should have a Paul and a Timothy in their life.  “Do you really want to experience God?  Then go and make disciples!” –Francis Chan
  • Friendships – Do you have a social life where you spend time fellowshipping with friends?  Are you seen as friendly person that cares about others more than you care about yourself?  Every Christian should be willing to stand alone for God but should never have too.  “Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren’t rubbed in but rubbed out.” –Rick Warren
  • Church Life – Is your church intentionally carrying out the Great Commission?  Are you more focused on doing church than being the church?  Are you more inwardly focused than outwardly?  Are you program driven or people driven?  “Remember the Alamo!  It began as a mission, became a battlefield, and now is a museum.  Wrong trajectory for a church.” –Alvin Reed
  • Faith – Do you believe that you are complete in Christ?  Do you trust in your ability more than the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God?  Did you know you can take a day off and get just as much done? (Read Ex. 16)  A leader, in the area of faith, has been described as someone willing to build an ark in the dark!

Lately, I have participated in a small group of local pastors and preachers and we all graded our own personal life “dashboards.”  We gave ourselves grade letters, some used 1-10, with A- being the highest and C- being the lowest.  What kind of grade would you give yourself in these seven areas?  What kind of grade would your wife give you on your marriage and family gauge?  Now is a great time to put together your own dashboard, with your own personal gauges, and see what they are really saying!

A healthy church focuses on the most important gauges!

Larry Barker

Larry Barker

Larry Barker serves as Director of North American Missions for the Baptist Missionary Association of America. He has a passion to see hundreds of BMAA churches planted throughout the USA and Canada, and has also served as a missionary to Romania. You can connect with him on Facebook or