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Measuring Success

One facet of success is to maintain a realistic but hopeful attitude.
—Stuart Briscoe

When I was a young businessman in England, a group of church leaders got together in a major city to plan how they could sponsor an evangelist and hold meetings.

An older gentleman, something of a self-appointed archbishop, rose to address the assembly. He gave a stirring speech decrying the idea of making plans to increase the number of believers. He ended with a rhetorical flourish: "God has called us to be faithful, not successful!"

"Amen!" responded the assembly. The group then voted to scrap the evangelistic enterprise.

They had mistakenly concluded that faithfulness and success are diametrically opposed. Unfortunately, that's not an uncommon assumption.

The issues of size and success are inseparable for many pastors. For some bigger is better, with success defined as continued growth in membership, giving, and attendance. The larger the church, they reason, the more people reached with the gospel. These ...

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