Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Not About Numbers

"Oh, so you're the new youth pastor at such and such church"
"Yep, sure am. My wife and I just moved in and got started about three months ago."
"So...how's it going so far?"
"Well, you know. It's hard to get started quickly. We have to build relationships with the students and their families. We have to get familiar with the school system. I'm learning how to use a lot of the church's resources and trying to figure out how everything works together. But it's going well overall."
"That's great. How many kids you got coming?"

Okay...so this conversation never actually happened...or did it? So many times in mainstream ministry a conversation very similar to this comes up. It seems to me that too many times the temperature of how a ministry is going is equated with how many are in attendance. It really frustrates me, and yet, I find myself dealing with the numbers game already at the beginning of a ministry endeavor.

The Young Adults/College ministry at The Dream Center has great potential. A rich history of effective ministry, a vibrant congregation, a heartbeat to share the Gospel with others, a push for outreach that meets the physical needs of many...There are about 15 big colleges within a 45 minute drive of the front steps of the Angelus Temple. The population of the area where the church building stands outnumbers my entire home town. That leaves a great opportunity in our laps--to get connected with more people and to have them become fully devoted to Christ in every aspect of their lives. The thing is, is that we don't want to be a mile wide and an inch deep. We would rather have 10 people who are really going after God full force and building deep set relationships with each other than 1000 people who are just there to hang out and eat some snacks.

This dilemma is an interesting one that we are working through. We don't want to equate 'success' in ministry with how many people attend our events. Any thoughts?

1 comment:

Shelly said...

Amen kids! Remember COW's theory of multiplicity? That lighting the fire within a few, building up a strong foundation of faith, and equipping them to live it out in their every day lives and share it with others would have exponential power? In a world of instant gratification, it's hard to have the patience to sow the seeds and wait for the full harvest... but what a shame to try and rush the depth and magnitude of God's work, just to please others. I have every confidence that you two are making a world of difference in the lives of those you touch there, and I have no doubt that you will allow new faith to strengthen and take hold of their hearts, rooting deep within to light their souls on fire. Eph. 3:14-21