Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ministry Musings: Size Matters (2)

It’s funny how when you’re in the church business you so often here things about how numbers don’t mean much, but one of the first questions pastors like to ask each other is how big is your church? How many do you worship? I want to agree that size doesn’t matter, but I’m afraid that on a certain level it kind of does.

Membership size probably doesn’t mean a whole lot since different congregations count membership in many different ways. A more accurate comparison perhaps is worship attendance because that gives an indication of how many are actively involved on a weekly basis. Still, how much does that mean? If you live in a growing suburb like Cottage Grove you have more people to draw from than an unincorporated town like Rome. At the same time worship attendance speaks perhaps to the width but not so much to the depth of the ministry.

Where I think size does matter is in measuring growth. A church is an organization, which comes from the same root word as organism. The church is a living community. That, to me, means that if you are not growing you are dying. Jesus came so that we might have life and have it abundantly. Therefore we need to be looking for signs of life: Growth in the number of people participating in worship and other ministries of the church; Growth in the depth of faith through prayer, Bible study, and service to others; Growth in the number of people empowered to take on ministry leadership; or Growth in excitement for sharing the Good News of Jesus among signs. Of course, none of these are easily measured, but I suspect you recognize these signs of life in a congregation when you see them.

Where do you see our congregation growing? Where do you see signs of life? How are you contributing to the life and growth of the kingdom of God?

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