Long years of measuring church growth have left a crucial question largely unanswered: What is the quality of a church that pleases God?
Beyond a prize-winning Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, or 21,609 conversions in 1981 at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, or a 10,000-seat sanctuary for Huffman Assembly of God in Birmingham, Alabama, or 275,000 members at Full Gospel Central Church in Seoul, Korea, the question still lurks. The superchurch with a photogenic, magnetic pastor-is it really a church? Is its message the gospel? Is it healthy or just fat? Is bigger better?
The Quest for an Elusive Gauge
Up to now, we have stumbled along with highly subjective methods of evaluating quality. A number of self-appointed church critics have set up personal standards and judged others by them. Such an approach, while widely used in our society to assess drama, art, motion pictures, and vintage wines, has not worked particularly well for analyzing churches.
Many denominations, ...1