Sometimes I can help by wonder why is it that some christian institutions and churches have such a difficult time connecting with people and making a true impact. My answer, these days seems to come down to “numbers”.
Some churches I have visited in the past few years have exactly the same thing in common. They are very concerned about numbers. The number of members. The number of baptisms. The number of visitors. The number of donations. The number of missionaries. The number of seats. The number of etc…
Why are christian churches and institutions measuring their success based on numbers? Why would they measure their success in a way completely against the way Jesus himself did it? For anybody that has heard or read the bible at some point, they would know that Jesus was all about 12 disciples not thousands. He was concerned about showing his love and serving the people he met. He seems to be extremely concerned in contrasting outward religion with internal rebirth.
He wanted to go and disciple, not make disciples. The focus was in going deep, rather than going wide.
Would it be hard to measure their success by loving people? A successful church is one that shares the love of Christ with their people. An unsuccessful one is the one that has growing numbers in every category but they failed to love.
Don’t get me wrong, in business, unfortunately numbers are the ones that speak. But they speak about how effectively you are serving people. In other words, if you start a business caring only about improving your “numbers” you’ll probably have a very difficult time in the long run. Instead, if you focus in providing solutions to people’s problems and to be compensated fairly for it, you’ll probably have an easier time.
I understand that churches need money to survive and that they are accountable to God for the way they manage the money that God has trusted to them. But when a church decides to make any possible effort to push people through a funnel made by their own ambitions something is clearly wrong.
People gravitate naturally to the person of Jesus. Why? Because He gives you a place. Because he doesn’t tell you what you want to hear. He is willing even to upset you in order to bring you up and build you. The short answer is: love. He shows real love. Do you want to go from 1000 church members to 2000 church members? Examine your heart. Why would you want to go from 1000 church members to 2000? Are you thinking about the bills? Are you thinking about the future of your reputation? Or even about your survival as a church?
Here is my business recommendation for church leaders: Be comfortable and faithful with the small and one day, you’ll be trusted with the much.