In spite of all the Bible says about faithfulness, the last being first, and pleasing God rather than men, it’s absolutely fascinating how enchanted we are with numbers. Check out the latest conferences, and most of the speakers are from the most attended churches. Look at the pastors on the best seller lists, and once again, you’ll usually find pastors of the largest churches and ministries.
What is our intoxication with what the world views as success?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for growth and expansion. God called us to reach the world, and naturally, that means increase. Many of the clients of Cooke Media Group are large churches and ministries, and some of my closest friends are pastors of mega-churches, and are brilliant leaders. Many pastors who are leading the largest churches are doing it for a good reason – they know what they’re doing, and are mentally, spiritually, and socially, right for the job.
On the other hand, there are plenty of leaders of large churches and ministries who frankly aren’t that good at it.
I’m not being critical, I’m just stating facts. Today, pastoral ministry is a tough job – and it’s a complex job. There are many reasons why a pastor or ministry leader can actually be leading a vibrant and successful church, even though he’s actually pretty weak.
Nepotism, timing, momentum, age, location, other strong leaders in the church, and more are good reasons. (I’d love to hear others.)
My point is that when you look at pastors to model, don’t forget some of the small guys out there. There are men and women leading small churches and ministries who are gifted, highly skilled, creative, and have a powerful calling on their lives. Just because thousands don’t show up on Sunday doesn’t mean they’re not good at what they do, or don’t have something to say about leadership, ministry, and even media.
Find the strongest leaders in large churches and study them. They have a lot to share about leadership at the highest levels. But don’t think for a minute that big numbers automatically mean anointing, smarts, skill, or innovation.
And for the record, it’s the same in the corporate world.
Focus on significance and insight, not numbers and size.