There are many ways to look at the growth of a church but so many times, we simply focus on the numbers gathered in one little service, one hour a week.
This should not be so. Numbers are not everything. There are other ways to measure a church. Here are my final thoughts on it this week:
I wish to start with a quote because I love quotes and because they sum up a lot of my thoughts on measuring a church accurately. Jim Cymbala says “What a tragedy that the quality of ministry is too often measured by numbers and building size rather than by true spiritual results.”
This is so often the case in my eyes because when I look at or hear about a church, I ask “how many people go there?” or “how many are coming to that service?”. This should not be. Most of the times that I have grown in significant ways were not through a crowd. It was usually through a conversation. Or a book. Or through some prayer by myself or in a small group. In fact, I believe that sometimes a crowd can hinder spiritual growth if we aren’t careful.
I have been trying to balance what God wants out of my life. I like the big gatherings. I thrive on them. In some ways, I might say that I need them (not spiritually but as a way of encouragement) because I am a worship leader and I wish to sing out to God with all the believers I can on a weekly basis. I also love listening to messages given by a great speaker where he simply expounds the Scriptures for an hour with some great insights and stories. This is something I like. I love going to church with anticipation and excitement because God is going to do something among us that He didn’t necessary do all week. And in some ways, I might say that I need the entertainment of a service to strengthen me for a week of hardship.
But on the other hand, I love the smallness of church. The relationships built on intimacy and interaction. I thrive on the small because this is where God does most of His work. I could go without the big gathering but I could never forsake the small.
So numbers don’t matter if you are simply trying to cram as many people into a high school auditorium as you can. But numbers matter when you care about each individual and seek to have them find that connection to God and His Word and how that will affect our world.
Let me encourage to look at how you measure a church and see if you are ready to do so accurately and biblically.
Here are some closing questions for you:
- How do you measure the ability of your church to reach this world?
- What do you believe makes a church successful?
- How might you alter this to make it a more biblical approach?
- What would you say that Jesus’ characteristics of a great church would be?