If numbers aren’t the only way to tell if a church is healthy, what else is there? Have we really become so obsessed with numbers that many pastors don’t know what a healthy church looks like, outside of crunching the numbers? An obsession with numbers can blind us to essential truths. Not only are numbers
I’ve always tried to live my life and do ministry by this rule:
Don’t try to be successful. Try to do good work.
Not people-pleasing work, God-honoring work
Not self-promoting work, Christ-magnifying work
Not numbers-driven work, Spirit-led work
The one time in my ministry that I abandoned this principle and did things for the numbers, I got numbers. For a while. But the numbers came at a cost. They sucked my soul dry.
Those numbers, as modest as they were, almost killed my church and cost me my ministry. Not because of the numbers. Because I abandoned my principles for them.
Yes, you can honor God and see numerical success. There are a lot of churches, pastors and ministries that do. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
It’s not about size or success. It’s about having and honoring Godly principles, no matter what the results look like.
If the size of my church was up to me, it would have been a lot bigger a long time ago.
After all, like so many of my peers in ministry, I’ve followed all the rules. Preach the Word, train disciples, reach people, remove obstacles, lead and manage it well, and the church will grow. Won’t it?
But then, it doesn’t. No for most of us.
I know it doesn’t make sense. How can a church be healthy and strong, but not grow numerically? It seems counterintuitive and … I don’t know … wrong somehow.
But that’s reality. A lot of healthy churches don’t grow numerically.
A healthy prayer life is hard work.
If you’re one of those Christians who finds your prayer life to be easy, joyous and endlessly fulfilling, we’re grateful for you and the role you play in the body of Christ. But that’s not the way it is for most of us.
Pastors are not immune to struggling with our prayer life. In my experience and conversations, plus almost every poll taken about the prayer lives of ministers, pastors who struggle with prayer are in the majority.
So if you’re a minister who is less than satisfied with you prayer life, I hope it helps to know you’re not alone.
Prayer is really hard for most of us. Including me. And I think I know why.
Prayer is hard because the results are long-term.
No one can truly pastor 1,000 people. Or 500. Even 200 is stretching yourself too thin. That’s why the so-called 200 barrier is such a challenge. So, if you want to lead a large church, at some point you’ll have to give up most of what it means to be a pastor. Maybe even what you