In the prior post I asked the question of whether growth is a proper measure of a ministry. Some say yes, because the kingdom of God should be ever expanding.
Others object. They measure ministry by how faithful its leaders have been in discipling the flock. Such faithfulness may lead to numerical growth, but if not — it’s OK.
Myself? I can see both sides.
But at the end of the day, I admit, I’m a growth guy. It’s in my DNA.
At Macalester College where I worked for many years, we grew an average of 20% every year by focusing on growth.
Along the way, we trained students in Bible study, prayer, witness, justice and leadership. Call that discipleship.
But we didn’t engage in discipleship for its own sake. We planted seeds that we hoped and prayed would multiply 30, 60, and 100 times over (Mark 4:8) — which was how we grew.
Prioritizing growth, as I do, seems a minority opinion these days.
Pushback against growth
I know the concerns. Measuring ministry by the numbers means you’re a failure if your ministry doesn’t expand. And in some situations there’s no additional population available, making growth impossible.
Or maybe the leaders in a certain ministry are gifted for shepherding, care and teaching, but not strategic thinking and growth.
I am sympathetic to these real-world objections.
Yet, the gospel is meant for all nations. We must find ways to share Christ in an ever expanding circle, not keep him to ourselves. And of course, we don’t cause kingdom growth. God does, by his Spirit.
I find the story of the banquet feast in Luke 14:12-24 quite instructive. The host commands his servants to invite widely, finally insisting, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”
Folks, I ask respectfully: is the house of the Lord full?
That’s the true question of numbers that I wish to press in this post.
What do you think?