Last night as I was reading an assignment for school, Professor David Feddes quoted a comment by Peter Eldersveld from 1959 about measuring success, Peter says “a typically modern standard of what constitutes success, measuring everything in terms of mere numbers–always counting instead of weighing.”
Measuring By The Numbers
Numbers never lie, right? According to the Pew Research Center 70.6% of adults in the United States call themselves Christian. If this number were true, I would venture to say we would be living in a very different United States. Too often, as the church, we have been consumed with numbers and use numbers as our sole metric of success. We are consumed with, professions of faith, dunking people in water and adding them to the church roll.
When we elevate numbers as our sole metric of success, we will end up with a diluted church body. Many churches across America are filled with the “unregenerate church member”. These are people who may have walked an aisle, received baptism and were added to the church members roll, but were never really saved by the Gospel of Christ. Many churches are happy to do so because it gives the appearance of success. Unfortunately some unregenerate church members end up in leadership positions in churches and cause more harm than good.
Weighing and Counting
As churches we want to grow deep and wide, we should count and weigh. Using numbers as our only metric of success will lead to disaster. Who can forget the crowds of people who were following Jesus in John 6, but when Jesus put them on the scale and weighed their discipleship, we discover they were following Christ for selfish gain. When put on the scale, the people of John 6 rejected Christ.
We need churches to be deep and wide churches. Wide churches are churches who carry the mantle of missions in their community and share the Gospel of Christ. Wide churches are churches who add to the church people who are being saved, baptized, getting involved through church membership and walking with the Lord daily.
We also need deep churches. Deep churches are churches who have a strong discipleship culture who are not satisfied with just adding to the church, but are concerned with the individual growth of those who are being added. Deep churches are churches who have developed a leadership pipeline, a system of training, to help a person move from a disciple to a discipler. Successful churches are deep and wide churches.
May the Lord produce an abundance of deep and wide churches across our communities, the nation and our world.
Until Next Time
grow deep and help the church grow wide