Measuring Effectiveness 2

Steven Furtick begins this post by making a reference to 2 Samuel 24 :

God got very angry with David for taking a census in 2 Samuel 24.  In fact, this single act of disobedience resulted in a plague that destroyed 70,000 people.  The level of punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime.  All David was doing was taking inventory of his kingdom.  But God is about to send a reminder: it wasn’t his kingdom.  These people belonged to God, and David had no business claiming the increase of Israel as his own.

That’s not a bad lesson to learn. Everything belongs to God. True, but for the sake of clarity, I don’t think that was the exact problem in this passage of scripture. Here are a couple of excerpts:

2 Samuel 24: 2-4, 9 –

2So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, “Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are.”

3But Joab replied to the king, “May the LORD your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it. But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?”

4The king’s word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel…

9Joab reported the number of the fighting men to the king: In Israel there were eight hundred thousand able-bodied men who could handle a sword, and in Judah five hundred thousand.

Furtick sees this as an ego issue for King David. God got mad because David was proud of how large the Kingdom had grown. Again, this would be a wonderful lesson for Steven to learn, but I think the actual problem for David was not ego, but lack of faith. Rather than relying on God’s protection for Israel, he was putting his trust in the number of troops available.

However, if Steven interpreted it that way, it wouldn’t be much use to him in justifying his ministry practices.

The post continues:

As leaders, we’ll always be tempted toward an unhealthy preoccupation with quantifying our own success.

Has Steven seen this clip from his mentor, Perry Noble? Is Furtick condemning the “Scoreboard” argument?

Nope, he actually makes an attempt to justify it two paragraphs later:

Here’s the distinction: it’s good to be concerned with numbers.  But we’ve got to be concerned about the right numbers…for the right reasons.  We’ve got to make sure we’re measuring ministry numbers to measure our effectiveness and enlarge the Kingdom of God…not simply to placate our ego.

This is where the real problem rears its head. You absolutely cannot measure your effectiveness in the Kingdom of God by counting the number of people who attend your event.

The Muslims and Mormons are increasing their numbers daily. Are they being effective for the Kingdom of God?

As long as ministers measure success by worldly standards, they will have to continually compromise God’s Word to achieve their desired results.

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2 thoughts on “Measuring Effectiveness

  1. Paul Oct 15, 2009 8:41 am

    so i guess by this logic…

    1. Noah was a complete failure…no one repented under his preaching.

    2. Isaiah and Jeremiah was not successful…no one repented and the nation was hauled off to exile.

    3. Stephen was not successful…no one repented at his preaching, and he was killed.

  2. Corner Coffee Oct 15, 2009 12:26 pm

    I’m torn on this one. On the one hand, I understand that there are examples of great men of God in Scripture that failed to persuade large groups of people to repent.

    On the other hand, I’ve never EVER been to a healthy church that was not also growing in size. And I’ve been to a LOT of churches. I’ve ALWAYS been able to see a pretty clear picture of why they aren’t growing.

    Can anyone give an example from the New Testament that explains a healthy church that was not growing or that shrunk?

    I’m not talking about small and temporary reductions in numbers or temporary lapses in growth. I’m talking about a church that, despite being a healthy, Jesus-centered church and all their efforts at evangelism, they just couldn’t manage to make converts and grow the church.

    Either way, there is a clear precedent in Acts to celebrate growth, is there not? Why would Scripture even mention how many were added to their number if it wasn’t important?

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