If Numbers Are Not Important, Then Why Are They So Important? (A Poignant Guest Post)

How much It Hurts 200cjpgThe evidence keeps piling up. Mondays can be very hard on Small Church pastors.

This past Monday, I received one of the most truthful, passionately written expressions of pastoral pain that I’ve ever read. It was written by the wife of a Small Church pastor in the comment section following one of my most widely read posts “The 11th Reason Pastors Quit Too Soon”.

I have reposted her comment here, with the author’s permission. She edited it slightly for this post, to remove personal notes she didn’t want included.

Her original comment has been deleted to allow her to keep her anonymity.

 


If Numbers Are Not Important, Then Why Are They So Important? 
an Anonymous Guest Post

This article (The 11th Reason Pastors Quit Too Soon), which I’ve read before, has hit home this weekend.

My husband, small church pastor for 13 years (this is our first church) just yesterday said, “Sometimes I wonder if I should just give up.”

It’s so hard sometimes. It’s like you take one step forward and two steps back.

We know that numbers don’t translate success. But some numbers ARE important. So it’s like the enemy says, “Yeah, you say numbers aren’t important…but let’s see if you can pay the mortgage this month.”

It amazes me how so many positive spiritually healthy things can be happening in a church and yet it struggle to exist.

It amazes me how a church can be growing, even numerically, and yet it cause a GREATER strain financially on them. A church could have an increase in children or youth which constitutes growth, but causes financial strain from increased curriculum purchases and transportation costs. No one wants to put dollar signs on children – but the reality is that there is increased cost without increased income.

It amazes me how in the same church some people are so excited about what’s happening and then others just don’t see it.

It amazes me how people are so quick to suggest, “What this church needs….” but would never volunteer themselves to fill that need.

Sometimes I know my husband has even questioned his calling into ministry. “So the first church I pastor goes under….maybe I wasn’t meant for this after all.”

And then you think, “If I couldn’t be good enough to affect change in this church, what makes me think it would be any different in another church?”

My husband is NOT a big church pastor…those are just not his giftings.

Our church is a GOOD church. So many good things are happening. But when just one family leaves…it creates such a big hole.

  • It hurts the morale of the people. (These aren’t just nameless faces…but friends, long time people)
  • It hurts the finances of the church. (When you’re counting pennies, every penny counts)
  • It hurts the effectiveness of ministries in the church. (Now we have a hole to fill and no one else to fill it)

If numbers are not important (and we know deep down they aren’t) then why are they so important?

– A Small Church Pastor’s Wife

 


I re-posted this expression of pain from where it was buried in the comment section for three reasons:

1. So you can pray for this pastor, his wife, their church and others around the world who deal with the same painful issues. You may not know them, but God does.

2. It’s time for expressions like these to be exposed to the sunshine where we can deal with them, not hidden in shameful corners where we deny they even exist.

3. If you’re experiencing similar challenges, you’re not alone. There are a lot of us going through this. We need to be there for each other.

We don’t have all the answers at NewSmallChurch.com (maybe not any). But we want to be a place where it’s OK to ask hard questions, express painful feelings and know that someone cares. 

If you know a Small Church leader who’s dealing with something like this, please pass this on to them. 

– Karl Vaters

 

So what do you think? Have you, or are you experiencing a similar situation? Will you pray for this pastor, his wife and their church? Will you pass it on to someone who might be experiencing similar feelings?

We want to hear from you. Yes, you!
Enter your comment right below this post and get in on the conversation.

(How Much It Hurts photo from Lord Jim • Flickr • Creative Commons license)

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6 thoughts on “If Numbers Are Not Important, Then Why Are They So Important? (A Poignant Guest Post)”

  1. It is important to have a place to share. Often pastors have no one to share these concerns. Our God is faithful to equip us in the calling. He may do so through fellow pastors or even a perfect strangers. Be encouraged today.

  2. It is important to have a place to share. Often pastors have no one to share these concerns. Our God is faithful to equip us in the calling. He may do so through fellow pastors or even a perfect strangers. Be encouraged today.

  3. I’ve been in that place. And it doesn’t help that many times district officials will judge your effectiveness solely on increased attendance and a growing budget. Reaching the least of these and the little children doesn’t pay the mortgage but it advances the Kingdom of God!

  4. I’ve been in that place. And it doesn’t help that many times district officials will judge your effectiveness solely on increased attendance and a growing budget. Reaching the least of these and the little children doesn’t pay the mortgage but it advances the Kingdom of God!

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