Skip to main content

Growth Covers Over A Multitude of Problems

By February 4, 2010Change, Church, Leadership

We have had rapid growth at Grace Community Church. I am very thankful that God has chosen to share His grace with us for such a time as this. I am in a week of reflection (Read about that HERE) and the thought occurred to me this week: You can cover over a multitude of problems in an organization with enough growth.

For example:

  • It’s more difficult to determine if people are moving from visitors to regular attendees, because we have so many new visitors coming every week.
  • It’s more difficult to tell if people are connecting to groups and serving, because new people keep coming to join groups, serve, etc.
  • It’s more difficult to tell if people are developing in their giving habits, because new people keep arriving that bring new offerings.

I am not saying we have problems in these areas or any area.  I am really saying I don’t know, even though every organization has room for improvement. What I am saying even more is that if there are problems they have most likely been disguised because of the tremendous growth we have experienced. One day the growth may not be as rapid as it is today, and we will need solutions to problems that are uncovered. I am more proactive than that. I would rather uncover the problems that may exist now and find solutions before the problems arise.

I am questioning if there is a need to find ways to evaluate our progress in reaching our core objective, which is ultimately the same as our vision, “to make growing followers of Jesus Christ”. We aren’t looking for just numeric growth, we are striving to produce people that are growing in their passion and walk with Christ.

I realize that any line of thinking that involves evaluation in a spiritual context is controversial at best, but evaluating now may help us continue to grow and stay healthy and enhance the future growth that we experience. I lean towards the thought that the church must be evaluating progress towards objectives, as any healthy organization should do.

For similar thoughts on evaluation in ministry, read HERE and HERE.

What are your thoughts on ministry evaluation? It’s okay to disagree with me. Just share your thoughts. I will share more of mine tomorrow.

If you think evaluating ministry is important, do you have any thoughts on what kinds of things we would measure?

Related Posts

Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

More posts by Ron Edmondson

Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • Ron, thank you for sharing this! Much needed! I think we can easily mistake attendance & giving increasing as the only goal and therefore ignore everything else.

  • Dave Baldwin says:

    Ron, I understand the angst in your thoughts. We face some of the same issues. Much of our data tends to be anecdotal. Our strategy for seeing people become Christ-like Influencers is Gathering on the weekends, Growing in the context of community and Serving the body and the world. And in the middle of all that is the personal spiritual disciplines we all need to be a part of. So how do we measure all that? Well we're working on it. We have doubled in size in three years so many new faces. Lots to consider.
    Thanks for sharing your ideas. I'm glad we're not in this alone.

  • Joshua Woodlief says:

    Ron, I think that most church leaders only evaluate the things they find to be their strengths. The avoidance of problems causes them to grow like a cancer which, as we all know, will have to be faced one day as a much bigger problem. I think the root of most church leaders not facing their problems is insecurity in who they are. Somehow we have turned the need to improve into a personal attack on who we are rather than seeing it as an opportunity to be what God intended us to be. I always want to be a part of an organization that celebrates the wins, but more importantly, corrects its failures. It should always be our practice to grow a culture of honesty within our church staff and to evaluate the things that need to be fixed. Great post Ron!

  • JasonWert says:

    Ron, I'm no pastor or church leader but in the churches I've visited that didn't do this kind of evaluation there's a real level of stagnation. No real depth to relationships. The prevailing attitude was that it didn't matter if they really grew because if they left someone else would take their place. I would think it's like any other enterprise you feel is worth your time and effort…if you don't stop to see if what you're doing is working then you're just spinning wheels in the mud.

  • Ron, this has been true for us here at GCC. Growth also stresses our infrastructure and hinders our training process as we try to equip new leaders to serve in our church and community. It is almost like we are continually catching up…BUT it also keep us depending on God to provide. When growth like this happens is pushes the team to depend. I think there is a need (and I think we are trying) to continue to reach for growth but evaluate along the way. Good post…now bring me home some deep dish pizza!

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thanks Michael. We ARE dependent on God…that's for certain. Wouldn't want it any other way…glad you are part of the journey with me! Fun times.