one of the things that drives me crazy about church and those of us who go to church is how we so easily associate big numbers (attendance, offering, etc.) with growth (and vice versa). while perception really is not reality, it really is for some people who walk in our doors, and i hate how people can leave with a perception that not much is happening simply from a 5 second glance in a room, all while critical life transformation and faith steps are being taken under the surface.
we have got to find ways to measure spiritual growth beyond numbers. i’m not saying that we should put our spreadsheets away (although i wouldn’t complain), but let’s add some things to the conversation that will never get charted.
i was listening to the youth ministry garage recently and a question along these lines came up. a ton of great things were said, but one of them was simply to always have a story ready to share. to change the perception you have to change the conversation, and a great way to change the conversation is to tell a compelling story.
don’t walk through your church lobby on sunday morning without a quick story of life change happening right now in your ministry! this has been so challenging for me these days and such a good reminder.
- stories of the girl who just decided to give church a try.
- or the high school jock who joined the football team not to show off but to connect his teammates to jesus.
- or the girl who finally dumped her jerk boyfriend because he kept pressuring her to send him nude pics.
- or the outsider kid who finally got welcomed by a regular and took a next step in the ministry as a result.
these stories will never show up on a graph in excel, and some may still want a number… but the life change is happening, and sometimes we just need to do a better (more creative) way of sharing it.