the weblog of Alan Knox

How would you measure a church’s success?

Posted by on Jan 15, 2010 in discipleship | 10 comments

So, I was reading a pastor’s remembrance of the “launch” of his church. When the church first launched he was concerned because there were less than twenty people for him to preach to, and the offering was just over $100. Because of those numbers, he didn’t think the church would succeed.

Apparently, he measured success (at least in part) based on the number of people in his audience and the amount of money they gave to his ministry.

How would you measure the success of a church?


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  1. 1-15-2010

    Two things that are interdependent.

    1. The intimacy of the fellowship
    2. The missional mindset of that fellowship (serving, loving, discipleship, missions to those outside of themselves)

    The reason I say that these are interdependent is because this seems to be the great call of Christ and the metanarrative of scripture. Spread God’s glory throughout the world so that He may be worshipped. That was given to Adam and Eve, Noah, Jacob, Israel (covenental nation) and then the Church through Christ.

    Properly obey/worship God and make Him known or in other words “be fruitful and multiply and cultivate the world”


    Just to add what isn’t a measure of success is: good preaching, nice buildings, church growth, public appeal.

  2. 1-15-2010

    That sounds like a fun read. Is it online?

  3. 1-15-2010


    Will you copy your facebook comment here, or can I?


  4. 1-15-2010

    Success? 1 word comes to mind, obediance, both individually and corporately; radical obediance, foolish obediance, loving obediance, simply obediance.

  5. 1-16-2010


    I agree with you, but I think we must be careful with the word “obedience,” since people can mean different things by it. Obedience to who? Obedience to what? Obedience how? I doubt that many churches would recognize themselves as being disobedient.


  6. 1-16-2010

    The success of any body of believers should be measured by the fulfillment (or lack of it) of the original call of that body. Numbers and money would both be involved in that growth and success, especially if the reason the Lord called it into being (separate from other bodies that already exist) involved media, massive outreach, etc… In such cases, without people and money the vision cannot have success.
    The problem comes when that is all we look at – instead of allowing the vision to be foremost in our expectations. Whatever the Lord gives vision (true vision) for, He supplies what is needed to get the job done. An over emphasis on the “how-to” can sidetrack the purpose and leave the vision empty – unfulfilled – unsuccessful.

  7. 1-16-2010


    Isn’t the original call for the body the same for every body?

  8. 1-17-2010

    Alan, you can copy it here… Sorry for the delay in seeing that.. The problem with facebook is that it is hard to go back and find stuff from a couple of days back.

  9. 1-17-2010

    From Stephen Young II via Facebook:

    When people start living for God in a way that their actions communicate the Love of God in their lives better than words can. (No, I am not advocating not using words!)

  10. 1-17-2010

    I don’t think I can improve much on what Stephen said.