In our performance-driven society, there is always the temptation to try and measure success. We want to know how our church is doing. We want to see progress. We always want to be moving forward.
This is not necessarily wrong, just dangerous. It is not wrong to want to see progress. It is not wrong to desire to move forward. It is not wrong to want to see success.
However, it is dangerous because there are so many false metrics of success. When we gauge success by looking in the wrong areas, we can think we are healthy when we’re not.
Here are three wrong ways to gauge success in a church revitalization effort.
Attendance & Giving
An increase in attendance can give the appearance of health, but that is not always the case. It is possible for a church to grow numerically but be declining spiritually. It is possible to see people join your church but have no greater commitment to the mission God has given you.
I have led churches that have become healthier when certain people left. Attendance and giving went down, but the commitment to scripture went up, and the commitment to our mission increased. Numbers alone do not tell the entire story.
Comparing Ourselves to Another Church
t is easy to compare ourselves to other churches and other pastors. We think if our attendance increases quicker or our giving is higher, we must be doing better. We also believe that if another church sees success, we must be doing something wrong.
Avoid this trap. Every church has challenges and struggles that no one else knows about. Every church will see victories that no one else sees. Compare yourselves to Scripture, not other churches.
I am convinced that having too many church programs contributes to the ineffectiveness of many churches. Simply because a church is doing more does not mean that a church is healthier. In fact, it often means the opposite.
Adding programs and activities with no clear purpose demonstrates a lack of intentionality. Decide which programs and ministries will enable you to best pursue your mission and then do them well.
I will write more soon about ways to gauge the health of a church accurately, but for now, work to avoid these incorrect methods.