Numbers can never tell an accurate story of a church's success. To assess a church, a group or a ministry's level of success or failure with any type of numerical measure is to impose upon the church an institutional criteria and burden never discussed in the New Testament.
The successful church, the successful ministry or group within a church, and the successful Christian is the one who is faithful, not the one who is large or rich.
Faithfulness for a church, for a ministry or group within a church, or for an individual believer is measured in obedience and worship.
By obedience, I mean striving to be and do what Scripture has clearly prescribed; and trying to accurately determine and live out what Scripture has implied.
Obedience precedes worship because:
A) True obedience is an act of worship.B) Worship without obedience is disgusting to God.
By worship, I mean utilizing every resource available to appropriately revere and represent God.
Church people often ask questions like, "How many small groups do we have?" or "How many people are in small groups at our church?". While most pastors could, with a minor amount of effort, know the answers... those might actually be the wrong questions.
I think the right questions are:
"How are our spiritual formation efforts enabling people to live lives obedient to God?""How are our spiritual formation efforts equipping people to worship God with all the resources He has given them."
That's all for now.