This is part eight in a continuing series, Is Church Growth the Highway to Hell?
Quantity is Job 1. That’s the title of one of my favorite albums from the now-defunct ska band Five Iron Frenzy. The 17-track EP included the rousing “These Are Not My Pants” rock opera, eight dizzying songs in eight different styles. Quantity is Job 1 also included the live show favorite, “When I Go Out,” which clocks in at under 10 seconds.
I think this is one of the biggest complaints when we talk about church growth and numbers. Quantity somehow crushes quality, as if the two are mutually exclusive. They’re not. This was Rick Warren’s third myth about large churches. He argued that the two feed on one another. A quality church attracts quantity, and quantity in a church results in having more qualified people to contribute.
Despite its focus on quantity, Quantity is Job 1 is still one of my favorite albums. It exemplifies Fire Iron’s goofiness, but also their depth with songs like “Dandelions.” I liked the song so much I used it as the inscription for my novel.
Quantity + Quality
When we talk about numbers and church growth let’s be clear that it’s not a ‘my church is bigger than your church’ contest. It’s not about comparison. Different communities, different approaches, different goals—the numbers simply won’t compare.
It’s also not a bigger is better party. Large churches are not better than small churches. We do want to see the church get bigger, but the goal is people coming to Christ, not turning every church into a mega-church.
God counted the soldiers in Gideon’s army, but then continually cut the numbers in half. Bigger is not always better. Seth Godin says small is the new big. It’s about quality as much as it’s about quantity.