People have the frustrating tendency to believe statements that reinforce our previous opinions, even if those statements are obviously false. OK, let’s call them what they are – lies.
We think they must be true if they validate our prejudices, so we tend to be less rigorous in our fact-checking than we normally would be.
Christians are not immune to this. Neither are Christian leaders. And we seem to be especially susceptible to this when it comes to church growth. We believe what we want to believe. Facts are secondary.
I’ve been reading books and attending seminars on church growth and leadership for decades. In the year since starting this blog, I’ve been monitoring church growth and leadership blogs as well. In that time I’ve kept an informal, imperfect list of some of the lies that tend to come up regularly.
This is not to say that church leaders are liars. You can pass on a lie and not be a liar if you truly believe it to be the truth. I think that’s what happens in almost 100% of these cases. But that’s why we need to be careful. A lie that’s sincerely believed is still a lie.
I’ll offer 14 of these lies today, with minimal or no comment. I’ll leave the commenting to you.
I hope these will serve as a reminder to all of us, myself included, to always be vigilant in the statements we choose to believe – especially statements that reinforce our own world view.
1. If it can’t be measured it doesn’t matter
The older I get the more I realize the really important things in life can’t be measured, scheduled, or budgeted. Certainly we shouldn’t toss measurement or schedules out totally, but never forget that measuring, budgeting, or scheduling is for “things” – not for “values.”
2. Numbers don’t matter at all
See above quote for an idea of where numbers do matter.
3. Small churches can’t do outreach as well as big ones
4. Big churches can’t be as friendly as small ones
5. Changing our programs will change our church’s health and culture
Jim Powell addresses this fallacy brilliantly and helpfully in his new book, Dirt Matters.
6. Increased attendance is the best indicator of ministry success
7. Decreasing church attendance is always from a failure of leadership
8. Decreasing church attendance is not a concern
It may not be the need for panic that many claim it to be. But it is a warning sign that should never be ignored.
9. Bivocational ministry is rare
Not even close to true. Full-time ministry is much more rare than bivocational ministry is.
10. Bivocational ministry is less valuable than full-time ministry
Who’s going to break this news to the Apostle Paul?
11. It’s easier to pastor a Small Church than a big one
12. It’s easier to pastor a big church than a small one
Each has their own challenges and rewards. There’s no place for envy or pity from either end of the size spectrum.
13. The size of our crowd matters more than the quality of our content
No one says this out loud, of course. But what other conclusion can we draw? Books and blogs posts about increasing the size of our crowd are written and read exponentially more often than books and blogs about increasing the quality of our content.
And the grand-daddy whopper of them all…
Check out lies #15 & #16 in Two More Church Growth & Leadership Lies: The Church is American and White
So what do you think? Have you come across any church growth or leadership lies you can add to this list?
We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
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