Never promote quantity at the expense of quality.
There is always the temptation especially in ministry to go for quantity over quality. Since many Christians have a checklist mentality of spirituality in their minds they often tend to think of things as achieving tangible goals and being able to point to something and say, "There! Look what I (we) did!"
Of course it also doesn't help when you have so much of life that is judged by quantity. How much money did you make? How many people showed up? Did you show an increase over last year?
Don't misunderstand. Quantity has its place, and it is in fact one measure of success. Everyone would love for the pews to be full and for the bank account to be growing. However, the measure of success in ministry and in the Christian life has far more to do with quality, rather than quantity.
Never promote quantity at the expense of quality.
This is ultimately the key to all of it. We should never promote a quantity based thinking that sacrifices or is at the expense of quality. Christianity is not a checklist religion. Not only can you not achieve righteousness through works, but you can't and most certainly don't have to maintain your right standing before God with works either.
When Christians do what they do out of some self serving interest in order to "check off" their duties for that day so they can rest easy knowing that the did everything they "had to," they are doing themselves a great disservice and not bringing glory to God like they could and should be.
The common counterargument is to say, "Well, I guess you just don't care about quantity!" To which I reply, "Read what I am actually saying instead of what you assume I am saying."
Nobody including me that takes my stance is saying that quantity is irrelevant. In fact, I believe that one of the way God does in fact bless us is in ways that can be seen through quantity; for example, growing attendance, growing tithes, larger outreach, etc. However, this is not the standard of success by which we must judge our ministry. It is not the goal that must be put in front of us. Any increase, any tangible success that comes from our efforts is completely due to God's grace and provision and is for His glory.
Our goal, our desire, our work, our efforts should always be to bring the most glory to God, and we do this by focusing on quality, rather than quantity. For if we as a church have our main focus on quantity as the test for success then we fall into the snare of temptation and begin to think that we had something to do with that quantity or that success. It is man's biggest sin, the sin of pride that is so easily fed when the focus is on quantitative results.
The sin of pride is easily seen in these situations. "Look at what I accomplished! Look at what we have grown here! Look at all the people we have brought in!"
Now, admittedly, this is a huge temptation especially when you have the Joel Osteens of the world and others who fill huge stadiums and pack in record crowds and the world's brand of Christianity rejoices and celebrates what a man or organization has done! However, the majority of the people who pack the pews sit there either spiritually dead, or if they have been regenerated they remain babes in Christ with no solid food to feed on.
Christ is the One who gives the increase! Christ is the one who is sovereign, not man. Our focus and our goal is to make disciples. We are to see the spiritual lives of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ improving and becoming more Christ-like.
Our goal in ministry is to give a 100% quality effort. We should be asking the questions of our ministry as follows:
1. Does this ministry bring glory to God or self?
2. Does this ministry edify the body of believers at my local church?
3. Does this ministry promote a quality of spirituality that can effectively bring people closer to their Savior?
4. Did we start this ministry as a way to promote quantitative growth at the expense of qualitative growth?
If a ministry you are engaged in or starting has as part of the discussion the possibilities of reaching more people for Christ or the possibility of bringing in more people to disciple there is certainly nothing wrong with considering the positive aspects of quantitative growth. My central point is that our main focus, our main expected outcome should be the qualitative and spiritual growth of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and to bring the most glory to God.
If this is our goal in ministry, then I truly believe that God will bless that ministry both in a qualitative way and in a quantitative way. Our chief aim should always be to bring the most glory to God and not ourselves.
So take a few moments for spiritual examination. Why are you doing the ministry you are doing? Is it to bring glory to self or to God? What are your reasons for starting or continuing this ministry? If you have any questions or would like to discuss this topic further please feel free to reach out to me.