Townhall columnist Mike Adams says whenever pastors get together it isn’t long before one asks another the size of his congregation:
Whenever pastors get together in groups they make small talk just like anyone else. It isn’t long before one pastor asks another pastor the size of his congregation. If a pastor has a large church he tries to conceal his pride when he reveals the size of the congregation. If a pastor has a small church he is almost apologetic when he reveals the smaller number. Their interaction is similar to children arguing on a playground – each asserting that his dad is bigger and can beat up the other guy’s dad.
Of course, the pastor who has the biggest congregation eventually starts to think it is a reflection of his greatness – as opposed to the work of the Holy Spirit. He begins to take pride in church growth and would consider it to be a failure on his behalf if the church did not continue to grow. Once his ego becomes wrapped up in the size of his church, the numbers will never be enough to satisfy him. He doesn’t realize this unless someone brings it to his attention. But no one ever does. So he starts setting numerical growth goals and target dates for meeting them.
This is where the disaster begins. It always manifests itself in certain symptoms. Specifically, you can expect these five things to happen once a pastor becomes numbers driven instead of Gospel driven.
1. Politically correct ministry – First, the pastor starts some sort of politically correct ministry that is meant to grow the church by showing that it is culturally engaged. A safe ministry is usually chosen – something like a fund aimed at combatting human trafficking. This is a safe option because no one in the congregation is actually engaged in human trafficking.