The Right Numbers Count
reflections from my reading on Pastor Steve Murrell’s new book MULTIPLICATION CHALLENGE: A Strategy to Solve your Leadership Shortage
A temptation a church leader face all the time is to focus on the wrong set of numbers. I experienced getting so consumed with counting the weekend attendance and the money coming in during my early years of ministry not because I wanted to analyze but I do get my sense of affirmation and success from looking at the growing numbers of our church plant in 2007.
From 2007 to 2008 – we had an increase of 330%. That was a fast growth. I thought this is the number that we need to target. We continually improved our worship service experience and saw growth happen for the first three years of our church.
But then it happened. The one thing a pastor fears when he is consumed with the wrong numbers. The church stagnated. The growth stopped. It wasn’t like the good old days.
So what happened?
As our church enter its 10th year this 2017, I looked back at the good old days and the valleys that we faced after such high growth. There was one glaring connection between consistent healthy growth and decline the past ten years.
Decline happens when we celebrate the wrong numbers. The first three years (2007-2010), I observed the wrong numbers. I thought it was all about the weekend services. So I built on making our weekend services so attractional that we forgot to make disciples and to raise leaders. The problem with the attractional mindset is that we can never be as good as the attraction the world offers regarding lights, sounds, and ideas. When we start thinking that it is the lights, sounds and the funny shallow preachings that would attract people – it is the day that you will see a long term decline in church.
The truth is, we can’t sustain growth with church attendees. We can’t do church plants with church goers. The church staff can’t handle everything. We will experience a leadership shortage if we don’t build in our discipleship process. Disciple-making and leadership development was an adjustment we had to make as a leadership team in our local church. We had to do the same old boring strokes that our pastors taught us in the past!
The shift from we made from focusing too much on the worship services to putting more effort on discipleship and leadership development has enabled us to do more impactful work in our city. This year, we are excited to add new services. From two services when we started in 2007, we now have 7 Sunday services, two youth services and a church plant in Sta Mesa hopefully by this year.
We have partnered with our city government in discipling the drug surrenderees last year. We have started discipleship groups in neighboring cities and waiting for the right time and location for future church plants. We have raised 390 Victory group leaders as of present helping us discipling the city.
I am excited for this year. I believe this year we will see God do great and amazing things through his church. Let us be faithful in the great commission – let’s Honor God and make Disciples!