the weblog of Alan Knox

Measuring the Success of a Church

Posted by on Sep 4, 2012 in blog links | 8 comments

Measuring the Success of a Church

Scot at “Jesus Creed” wrote a post last week called “5 Myths about Successful Churches.” In the post, he summarized the findings from another article.

I have not read the original article, only Scot’s summary and some of the comments on Scot’s post.

However, even the summary that Scot gives us is very telling:

MYTH #1: The Size of the Church Shows Success.
MYTH #2: The Amount of the Budget Shows Success.
MYTH #3: The Celebrity Status of the Leader Shows Success.
MYTH #4: The Title of the Leader Shows Success.
MYTH #5: The Affluent Lifestyle of the Leader Shows Success.

At best, these “myths” may demonstrate the success of an organization and organizational leaders. They do not – and cannot – demonstrate whether or not a group of Jesus’ followers are “successfully” following him.

Instead, we can only point to people who are seeking to be obedient to Jesus Christ and help others follow him, who are growing in maturity, who are sharing their lives with others, who are serving and caring and providing for those in need, who are proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ with people in their lives.

When we focus on organizational issues to determine growth, our focus will automatically shift away from Jesus Christ and how he is leading his church.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 9-4-2012

    I commented on his original article that success is defined by obedience to the Spirit’s leading. Sounds like you’re saying pretty much the same thing. 🙂

  2. 9-4-2012

    This is true whether the church’s size is 50 or 5000!

  3. 9-4-2012


    I do enjoy your blog here, but when you post stuff like this, (and you should since it is relevant), it only causes my spirit to become angry. It makes me want to spit.

    What has become of The Bride? I feel as though many of us are desperately seeking her true Face that is now hidden behind a veil of man’s making. How long will Jesus tolerate such nonsense?

  4. 9-5-2012

    When I was growing up I was amazed to learn that, in black churches, the size of the leader’s car was the expected symbol status for the entire church.

  5. 9-5-2012

    Thanks for the comments, everyone. As most of you know, I work in a seminary environment, and I’m still asked occasionally, “How’s the church going?” The expressions on people’s faces when I respond (as described above) are often priceless.


  6. 9-9-2012

    Thought this insight from Vincent Donovan in “Christianity Rediscovered: An Epistle from the Massai” reinforces your point:

    “There are many idols, but two which, I believe, particularly mesmerize the western church, are individualism on the one hand, and love of organization on the other. …We consistently tend to interpret Christianity either from the individual or organizational community. …Besides playing lip service to the idea, how seriously do we consider the possibility that Christianity is essentially directed neither to the individual nor to the organization, but to the community?”

    If we were to think in terms of community, might it not be the dinners together, casual stopping by, praying with one another, and such small things, rather than the large, loud, external show pieces like meetings and bands and size and titles which would be treasured.

  7. 9-11-2012


    I like your list. Maybe we should put them in a weekly chart so people can add up the number of times they do each thing? (Just kidding, of course…)


  8. 9-11-2012

    Chart? I LOVE charts…