Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Shaping of the Church: Steeple Envy
A difficult thing in leading churches or ministries is dealing with the internal desire for large numbers of people in the gatherings. Some pastors say that we should be concerned with numbers because Jesus tells us to go and make disciples and therefore if we are doing our job, more people will come. Other pastors flat out reject the measure of numbers by saying they want quality, not quantity. No matter what the personal conviction, it is difficult to allow God to have his way and not allow numbers to affect you.
The thing that we must fight against is comparing one gathering's size to another. Don Golden uses the phrase, "How big is your steeple" when he or anyone on his staff feels the need to brag about the numbers of attendees or the need to ask how many are attending somewhere else. I think this is very telling in that it shows that these questions are about pride and about power. Somehow we think that churches with "bigger steeples" are better or more effective when it just might be that God made them to have big steeples. It might also be as one pastor of a large church says, "the skill of the pastors directly affects the size of the church". I agree with this on a purely human level but do we really just think that only churches with large numbers of people have skilled pastors or that a large size really means it is a clearer picture of the Church that Jesus dreams about?
I know that it is easy for me to say all of this at this point because we are a part of a new church and therefore have a small number of people attending. At our new church we want to be effective in reaching people and giving people a place to connect, but we don't want the steeple size to define us. So how do you think churches can effectively deal with this issue of steeple envy?.... and no viagra jokes!
Posted by Ryan Rosenbaum