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"DAVID MIERS is reported to be in the top 10 cage fighters in Gosford. He has some serious dish washing skills and thinks that Elizabeth Bennet is hot. Although he thinks that his wife Rowena is hotter. David works in youth ministry for a great church. Likes to: speak in third person, watch and play soccer, eat food and surf the web. He has never watched Star Wars."

Prayer Friday #29 + counting numbers in ministry

OBSERVATION: A couple of discussions in the last week or 2 have caused me to reflect on numbers in ministry. Discussion on Syd Ang and post on Youth Vanguard. I think people from my tribe (Sydney Evangelicals) are afraid of numbers. Maybe it's a pendulum swing away from the mega church after your mega money? Maybe it's a desire to be faithful without frills? I feel that large churches and youth groups are frowned upon. Clear statements on the syd ang forum were that 200 is the cap for a congregation and 100 is ideal. I think that is small minded. I think it's appropriate to have small churches... and we need to keep planting more and more churches of different sizes. BUT, if Sydney and Australia are going to see 10% of the population in Bible-teaching churches - we need big churches too! Tim Keller has a great article on the differences between large and small church ministry. I feel the vibe in Sydney is that youth ministries are healthy if they are small and struggling! If you have a large youth group - it's because you are having too much fun and not enough Jesus! Stupid!

Therefore, how do we measure success in ministries? I think it's appropriate to count numbers. But what do we do with the numbers? Asses the health of the numbers. Is it genuine gospel growth? Have people heard the gospel? Are people being changed by the gospel? Are year 9's making the transition to year 10? Are year 12s making the transition to year 13? (or whatever your big transitions are). If there's 1 changed life... thank God for it. If there's 1000 changed lives... thank God for it.  So... don't be scared of numbers. If you've got none - maybe you're boring people with the gospel! If you've got lots - check the health of those you've got that it's genuine gospel growth. Pray that more would hear and respond to the gospel of Jesus... dead, buried and risen.

>For a healthy church and youth ministry
>Spent the last couple of days visiting siblings and nieces and nephews. Good times. Thank God.
>Shred Hotham this week. Pray for final talk prep. Lost and Found
>Be a godly husband

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  • Blogger Newyhilton says so:
    Friday, July 06, 2007 11:19:00 am  

    "If you've got none... perhaps you're boring people with the gospel?"

    Bit harsh Dave!? Perhaps you're faithfully preaching the gospel with whatever resources you have and God is not presently choosing to work through your ministry in big and powerful ways yet?! 1 Cor 3 tells me God makes stuff grow not me. we need to be generous to our brothers and sisters in small struggling congregations.

    I think big churches also need to remember that "big" means far "bigger resources". Perhaps they/we (if you count our church big) need to be careful about looking down on small churches with few resources. Big churches can be guilty of implying that they have it together while these smaller churches are just boring and are not doing things right.

    Music is a classic example. Music sucks when you have no good musicians. As your church grows the number of musicians will inevitably grow and so your music will improve. It's much easier to have slick music in a big church! top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Friday, July 06, 2007 11:31:00 am  

    the perhaps wasn't exhaustive.

    my apologies if it sounded harsh.

    i did acknowledge that God ggives the growth. i had 1 cor 3 in my head when i wrote: If there's 1 changed life... thank God for it. If there's 1000 changed lives... thank God for it.

    i agree that there is a bigger resource pool. good comments.
    but at the same time - i think there is a view that there are't as many needs in a big church because there are so many people - but there are more needs because there are so many people!

    but back to your original comment... i do think that 'we're being faithful and God is choosing not to give growth' is the default for people - rather than actually assessing the effectiveness of what they're doing...

    if reading this and your ministry is struggling:
    keep being faithful!
    keep praying that God would give growth.
    keep seeking to excite people with the gospel of Jesus.

    peaceout top

  • Blogger Newyhilton says so:
    Friday, July 06, 2007 11:38:00 am  

    i agree massive needs in big churches. That said i also think there are more people in big churches not contributing to the growth of the Kingdom. Pew warmers (or high school chair warmers).

    I find in my situation that numerical growth at a 5pm is hard work. While 5pm grows numerically (through people coming to know Jesus praise God) we are experiencing a constant mass Exodus with parents moving to morning church. Hard work growing with such an Exodus going on. Has taught me not to be precious about the patch God has given me to work in but to keep focussed on Kingdom growth.

    P.S. I know you weren't being exhaustive... keep preaching the word Dave and I pray that the Hotham camp goes well! Say hi to Simon for me! top

  • Blogger Newyhilton says so:
    Friday, July 06, 2007 11:39:00 am  

    Sorry about the capitals in "Exodus". So used to typing the name of the book!

    Sam top