This is why the right minister can cause a church to sink or soar.
I liken it to a football team: An NFL squad has 53 men, but the team’s fortunes rise and fall on the talents of one man—the quarterback. If he can deliver lots of touchdowns, the team wins. If he can’t, the team loses.
Granted, the signal-caller must have good players around him, but as the Denver Broncos are seeing this year, a great QB means everything.
The same is true with church attendance. When it comes to numbers, nothing matters as much as the ability of the pastor to deliver engaging sermons. Preaching is everything.
It pains me to write these words.
In an ideal world, what SHOULD matter is prayer, the presence of the Spirit, the love of the people for one another and the church’s ministry in the community.
In that ideal world, a church should be able to take out one preacher and install another without a hiccup.
And while we’re at it, why does the size of a church even matter? Jesus would choose a church of 12 sold-out disciples over a church of 12,000 passive pew-sitters any day.
We can argue these points until Christ returns, but this blog post is about attendance. Numbers. And when it comes to putting men in pews, nothing matters more than pastoral quality. Every other consideration pales in comparison.
This wasn’t always the case.
In medieval times, there was only one church in a given area, or parish. If your parish priest offered boring homilies, you were stuck.
After the Reformation, sermons became the centerpiece of Protestant worship, as they are today. Some preachers were interesting, and others were boring.
But until the 1950s, that didn’t matter much. Christians were mostly loyal to their denominations. If you were born a Methodist, you attended the Methodist church in your area. If pastor was a lousy preacher, you endured it. You never even thought of going to another church because you were Methodist and that was that.
Fast-forward to today.