Very often churches and church leaders define their “success” in terms of numbers. Some defend measurement as an acceptable approach to gauging progress and effectiveness. They speak of the number of baptisms or converts, church attendance and budgets, and other numerical assessments as shorthand for “success.” Others reduce “success” to one factor: faithfulness. ”Whether the numbers change or not,” this group tells us, “is not the issue. The issue is whether a leader and church have been true to God’s design and intent.”
Here’s what both points of view can sometimes miss: persons and their stories. We can miss that behind every number are tons of persons. And a “faithful” man may in his own way miss persons by making persons into an abstract mass of “people.” I know that numbers tell us something about people, but only at aggregate levels, levels that become useless with individuals. And I know that a faithful pastor will love and care for people. But he can begin to think that people get in the way of being faithful. What we need are ways of defining and talking about the church and the work of the ministry that tells the stories of God’s work in, with and through persons. Isn’t the church and leadership about God’s design and will for persons? Isn’t the best measurement of “success” what happens in, to, and with persons in all of their beauty and ugly?
Read the whole thing HERE.