What Makes a Church Successful?

As of the writing of this post, I am 30 minutes away from staff meeting at The Grove.  (Question: is our official name Grove, The Grove or The Grove Church or Grove Church?  Do you have to use and capitalize all 3 words?  I want to do right.)  We are going to talk about this question:

What is success for a church?

This question, as with a lot of things church-related, can be quite controversial.  Some are offended by the question.  They believe that churches shouldn’t be concerned with success.  There’s a logical problem with saying that though.  Bear with me.  (Actually this makes me nervous, since there are a handful of PhD philosophers roaming around the Grove now.)  If churches aren’t supposed to be worried about success and instead, for example, should just focus on worship and loving people, then wouldn’t said church be successful, by their definition, if they focus on worship and loving people?  If the point of church is following after Jesus, then a church is successful if it does so.

I think what people want to do is distance themselves from the word success, because it has such a secular, read worldly, read evil, connotation.  Success means lots of people and/or money and/or programs and/or staff, etc.  Success in church in the “bad” model is measured by the same tools that businesses measure.  That inherently is wrong, so goes the line of thinking.

Though I may not completely agree with that line of thinking, I understand it.  The true measure of success of a church cannot be simply in cash flow and customers and jobs created.  Success for a church simply put is effectively doing what God has called us to do and be.  The question can then become what has God called us to and can we measure or gauge that.  I would argue that more people coming can be a measurement as can the church’s willingness to give.  That shouldn’t be the only measurement, but it can be one.  So can involvement, serving, missionaries sent, community needs met.  We could make a long list of things, I suppose.

However, here is the point of this post.  Depending on the “success” of what happens next, we may keep this conversation going with future posts.  How would you define success for a church?  How do you know if a church is successful?  Should a church even think in those terms?  If not, then in what terms should we think?  Is evaluating churches based on numbers of people and dollars inherently wrong?  If so, why?  If not, why not?

I ask a lot of questions.  You don’t have to try and answer all of them.  Just give your thoughts.  I would love to get a good discussion going here on churches and success.

No pressure, but I’m measuring the success of this based on the number of hits and posts (I love Google Analytics).