Membership, Peacocks & Metrics for Ministry

August 10, 2007 by  
Filed under Pastor

Southern Baptist, ‘strut like peacocks’ as they boast of the 16.3 million members they zealously guard ‘on the roles’. We are the largest Evangelical Denomination in America. Really?

Recently The ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) announced at their annual meeting in Chicago that they zealously guard 4.8 million on their roles.

Both of these hypocritical facades are driven by a common cause. What is that cause? What makes well educated men stand before the whole world and God and flat out lie? They would certainly qualify for a seat on the Sanhedrin. Their membership in Pharisees International is current when they pound their puny chests and harrumph about their numbers. LIARS ALL! Worse, they spout this tripe knowing it is utterly and absolutely untrue. Why?

Metrics for Ministry! You see, the measure of church ministry in America is one dimensional. It is driven and validated by numbers – - how many, how much, how often, etc. Most “God is calling us elsewhere” scenarios when a Pastor changes churches are predicated by his going to a larger (that is, ‘bigger’) church. When a Pastor attends a gathering of other Pastors the first question is usually something like this – - “How is the church doing?” Answer – “Oh great. We had 586 this past Sunday.” One of my favorite responses to this baloney was uttered by Howard Hendricks. To his former student, who was full of himself, Howard simply said, “ 586 what?”

Back to the ’16.3′ Million Southern Baptist. According to the ACP (Annual Church Profile), a report produced by the statistics turned in by the individual churches, on the best Sunday of the year the SBC has about 6.1 million people in attendance (37% ). This gets even worse. At the National Convention this past June held in San Antonio, TX, there was a well written and prudent resolution presented to correct this insanity, pretending to be what we are not. The result? The “Committee” would not even permit a public reading of the resolution. If Moses had a Committee, Israel would still be in Egypt. This is hypocrisy of the first order.

The ELCA knows that they have only 30% of their announced total of 4.8 million – - about 1.44 million – - in attendance. Yet they too continue the hypocrisy. Why?

Until the church in America finds the Grace of God that humbles us, until we repent of this Pharisaical charade, we will continue to decline. Worse, we will continue to make the God we claim to serve nauseous. He stated such quite clearly in Rev. 3:16. Read it for yourself.

The legitimate measure of ministry for the church is Transformed people. Ministry is supposed to be dedicated to and shaped by initiatives that lead to the transformation of saints into the fullness of the image of Christ (Rom. 12:2; Col. 1:28-29, 2:6-7). This is possible and more importantly it is required by the clear and compelling revelation of Scripture. Yet, most in positions of leadership (notice I did not say leaders) are not even remotely interested in changing the metrics. They enjoy the chest thumping and the “comparing themselves with themselves” which Paul warned us about (2 Cor. 10:12). They will not consider even an attempt to measure ministry by transformation. The day is coming when that measurement will be applied and there will be not one word uttered in defense of this sham, not one!

Lets stop being peacocks. Lets stop counting nickels and noses. It is time, past time, to make disciples who live to obey all that Jesus commanded (Matt. 28:18-20). Anyone want to join this glorious and Christ honoring initiative?

Tom

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