What Makes A Successful Church? A few links:

Spent part of this week crunching numbers getting ready for the Northshore Baptist Association’s staff mini-retreat next weekend. Every year I do this, it gets me thinking about what we measure. Are we measuring the right things? Are the metrics we use causing us to fire at the wrong targets? How would Jesus measure success in ministry? What do you think?

Came across a few interesting articles in this regard as well this week. Thought I’d share:

  • Input results in the church world focus on the number of people and dollars that “come into” the church. Common ways we talk about input results include the “ABC’s” (attendance, buildings and cash) or “nickels and noses” or “butts and bucks”
  • Output results refer to actual life-change outcomes that God intends for followers of Christ individually and together. 
  • Impact results capture the broader effect of the church in the surrounding city or community.

Corporate Church vs. Movemental Church by Mike Breen. This one really made me think!

  • Efficiency has replaced effectiveness. Many churches are organizationally efficient, but we aren’t affecting the lives of people the way in which Jesus imagined a family would do.
  • while churches may claim to have “leadership development programs,” what they really have are “volunteer pipelines” that are run by managers, not leaders.
  • What we need is a way of making and moving people so that as we make disciples, we release them into their destiny of pushing into new Kingdom-frontier.
  1. Financially self-sustaining within two-years. (Urban Plants may be longer)
  2. Self-governing after two-years.
  3. Multiplication minded. (Involved in planting other churches from day one.)
  4. Giving 10%, from day one, towards missions (Out of weekly offerings).
  5. Growth which comes primarily through conversion.
  6. At least 45% of attenders actively volunteering in the church.
  7. Engaged in transforming the community. (Not just individuals)
  8. Growing numerically.
  9. Developing new leaders for ministry.
  10. Members are continually and actively inviting their neighbors to church and sharing their faith journey with those around them.
  11. At least 80% involved in small groups by year-two.
  12. Actively involved in foreign missions work.
How large shall we plant? by Steve Sjogren – said the former mega-church pastor. Interesting.
  • Mega-churches are cooler, hipper, usually more exciting than other area churches, therefore they are natural gathering points for already-converted people who are looking for “something more” – namely more program options, better worship, more services with fewer demands…
  • My bottom line: I’d rather plant a network of 15 churches of 500 that are maximizing their potential for outreach than to have one church of 7,500 that is fun to lead, fun to be a part of, that strokes my ego…
2011 Profile of Large Attendance Churches in the United States by Leadership Network. Everyone’s got an opinion about big churches. What does the data actually say? Ed Stetzer’s summary here.

Church Planting Numbers that Matter by Steve Pike. Great equations and guide for the “big launch” model of church planting.

How to Shrink Your Church – Some good thoughts on how dying is gain in church life. Are we pursuing the Hallmark moment and whatever works to grow?

  • while a generation of church leaders acquiesces to the demands of our consumer culture. The demands are simple: tell me something that will make me feel better (sentimentality for the churchgoer), and tell me something that will work (pragmatism for the church leader). Yet it is not clear how either one of those are part of what it means to be the church.
  • you can grow a church without God if you have good preaching, great music, killer children’s ministry, and an engaging youth minister. In the pragmatic church, there is only one question that matters, “What will work to grow my church?”
  • Convincing the church she does not exist for the benefit of her members, but for the life of the world is a bad church growth strategy. It’s also exactly what the church must do. It’s a tough sell because crucifixion seems like a losing strategy unless you believe in the resurrection.

What would you consider success for a church?

About Lane Corley

I am - Follower of Jesus Christ - Husband to the beautiful and patient Heather Corley - Father of three. - Church Planter / Church Planting Strategist with the Louisiana Baptist Convention. - When I can, I’m reading, raised bed gardening, deer hunting, and on mission with my church. - Hoping to be helpful.

Posted on December 1, 2011, in Helpful Links, Ministry. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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