24 September 2008

Not Helpful

Among the many helpful things I glean from Christianity Today, I read this today on the back cover, advertising the alleged results of a seminary's DMin program:

In his first 16 years of ministry, Bryan _______ took a church of 50 people in a 'run-down little building' on Long Island, New York, and helped it grow to a congregation of more than 500. His preaching and pastoral skills did not go unnoticed, and in 1999 he was offered the pastorate at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts, a congregation of 2,000.

Thank you, CT, for once again reminding me of what I'm not shooting for in pastoral ministry.

The temptations to adjudicate significance as the world does already rage inside my sinful heart--do these unhelpful flames need to be fueled by evangelicalism's flagship magazine?

Have the hundreds of faithful pastors who took churches of 50 people twenty years ago and are now at 60 people--or 40--"gone unnoticed"?

Only by those whose notice will not, in the most important sense, matter. That's ok. God sees.

"And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, declares the LORD." --Jer 45:5

5 comments:

Ray Ortlund said...

Thank you, Dane. I agree.

Jeffrey C. Waddington said...

Dane

Thank you for reminding us that numbers are not a proper standard for judging the spiritual health of a congregation or the faithfulness of a pastor.

ErinOrtlund said...

Great point Dane! I totally agree--I'm sure some of the healthiest and most God-honoring churches are the smallest. A focus on numbers as the measure of "success" seems silly to me.

Sam S said...

Dane, without even knowing which seminary you're referring to, I have a feeling it's one where I got my M. Div. from. Sad to say, I agree with you 100%.

Brian Dennert said...

I was just talking with a church planting pastor about this yesterday, how we set up "number idols" naturally in our heart. It is something we need to continually guard our hearts against.