I have been reading a book by Rick McKinley called "This Beautiful Mess". Rick is the pastor of Imago Dei Church in Portland.
He talks about how in one of the early days of the Imago Dei church plant that the church was meeting in a Baptist church that they rented on Sunday nights. On this particular Sunday night, Portland was playing LA for the NBA Championship. The church that normally averaged 30 in attendance slid all the way down to 12..."and even though I could tell you why our turnout was low, my heart was reeling. Here I was, trying to jump to the next attendance level, and our church had slid. A 60 percent drop in one week. Where was God? What did I do wrong? Why were we both failing?" He later said that as the church grew upwards to 600 and beyond that the fear still existed on any given Sunday of "falling behind in the levels, of failing at the numbers game."
McKinley's words hit me hard," How can I allow church- a community that was created to be a place where Christ loves, heals and redeems- to be reduced to a place where I am defined by numbers?" That hit me hard. The next sentence hit harder. "At the root of so much of that desire is pride, covetousness, a need for control and self-centered striving. SIN in other words." OUCH! and as a worship leader I can relate to McKinley when he says that he has "repented of that and probably will again next Monday."
In a day where we see churches failing because of a lack of numbers, where we see pastors removed because of falling numbers, aren't numbers important? How do we evaluate how well we're doing? Have you heard that statement before? How do we know where we rank in the "Top 20?"
...So, the dilemma... are numbers important?
Just a thought from the back porch...DH