“How many does your church run on Sundays?” “So, what size student ministry do you have?” “How big is your church?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question in my ministry years and even how many times I have probably asked this of others. Here’s the rub on asking this question: If your church is running less than theirs, you end up feeling inadequate; if your church is running more than theirs you end up feeling self-righteous. Heard a speaker say one time “There is not a whole lot that can tell you less about what’s going on in a church than that question”. I think there is some truth in that statement.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not wanting to get into a discussion on church growth. Anyone can read the book of Acts and see that the early church GREW. A church that is not growing is in decline, imo….and that’s really the point of asking a different question.
No, the thought that struck me was what if we flipped that script on the question “how many are you running?” and started asking different questions, maybe additional questions. We’ve been going through a message series at Cedar Creek called Chairs. It’s been a vision series with a focus on the idea that the empty chairs that we see around us on Sundays and at HOME group should serve as a visual reminder of who is missing. This past Sunday during Wes‘ message at the West Campus, this thought hit me:
What if we started asking:
“How many empty chairs did we have at our church Sunday?”
How would that shift our focus of what we do? We recently put together some numbers that showed there are approx. 80,000 people in Aiken County that are unreached, that are unchurched and probably don’t know Jesus. How would asking that question shift our focus in reaching them?