How good, or how healthy you are has absolutely NOTHING to do with what tools you have to work with, or how much of something you have.
Over the last couple of years, I have been faced with numerous personal, and professional questions related to church growth. I had a friend of mine state "You cannot have an effective, relational church with more than 1000 people". This has always bothered me. I have never been one to focus on the numbers in church, but have always liked and wanted to be a part of a large thriving church.... which is where this blog comes from. As I have been searching, watching and asking.... a couple of questions have come to my mind
1. What does a "Healthy" church Look Like?
2. What does a "Growing Church" look like?
3. What does an "Effective" church look like?
I have spent a lot of time talking with friends in ministry about the differences in different churches and their individual ministry styles. Most of the discussion revolves around the juxtaposition of the "Seeker" (SE) and "Spirit-Led"(SL) church models. I have always been apart of the "Spirit-Led" model. One of the most talked about points, which I will expound on, is the issue of "The Numbers" i.e, how many people are attending the church in question.
I have heard ministers in the "SL" model talk about numbers from the perspective of ... "It's not about the numbers.... but how effective you are at ministry that counts"
At the same time ministries from the "SE" model say "We are healthy, and therefore can reach more people effectively"
Let me start by saying this..... Bigger doesn't mean better, nor does smaller mean more "Relational".
As I look at this discussion, I see that it is more or less like debating the health benefits of Pepsi vs. a piece of chocolate cake.... pointless. Ministry is and should be about one thing and one thing ONLY. Bringing people to a better understanding of Christ! How do you do that??? The options are endless, but that is not what this particular blog is about.
I think it's time the church stop looking at numbers to justify how well they are doing, and look at the heart of the ministry....
Are people coming to a better understanding of Christ?? YES?? Then you are doing well!!! The rest is just details.
But while I am on it, let's talk about the details for a moment.
1. Size - Say you aren't growing in numbers.... does that mean you have stagnated? well maybe... but I think a better question to ask would be.... why aren't people coming? your particular theology? Style? "Relational-ness" or lack thereof? If you can seriously ask these questions... and hear the answer (Weather or not you agree with it) I believe it will speak volumes as to your health as a ministry and effectiveness.
At the same time... If you are growing in leaps and bounds, are you healthy??
well... again, I think the same questions need to be asked.... Just because people are flocking to you, doesn't necessarily mean you are healthy.... you may just be more popular! Why are people flocking? Because you have a great band, great theology? or because it is easy and non-confrontational? or because it feels good??
No matter what size you are, or what state of growth, you need to ask these type of questions so you can really know if you are healthy. Growing up, I was a BIG Kid, and it wasn't till later in life I found out I was NOT Healthy... just big! Now I am trying to get healthy
That's all for today.... more to follow