Sunday, November 25, 2007

Churches inflate their statistics? Who would've thought...

World Magazine reveals that the number of participants that many churches report don't add up in an article entitled, "Numbers Racket" in the December 1, 2007 issue. You can read part of the story here, but you must be a subscriber to read all of it. If you don't already subscribe to this excellent magazine, this is an excellent opportunity to do so.

Here is an interesting quote from the article:
Dan Gilgoff covers the evangelical movement for U.S. News & World Report and is the author of The Jesus Machine. He told WORLD that in his experience, megachurch pastors "notoriously inflate membership" numbers. The reasons? "Media attention, political influence, and money," Gilgoff said (emphasis added).
Somebody should address this situation, maybe by submitting a resolution or something to call attention to inflated church rolls and calling for integrity in the way the numbers are reported. ;-)


Brian Hamrick said...

Hmmmmm.... a resolution? What an idea! Just make sure it mentions baptism this time. (grin)

GUNNY said...

As a church planter I often wonder about the perceived pressure to inflate statistics to appease and/or impress those who give funding to keep the thing going.

Do missionaries feel that as well?

After all, who wants to give their monthly $100 to Missionary X in Zimbabwe who's had moderate discipleship success over the years when it could go to Missionary Z who got 2,000 decisions last month?

pregador27 said...

Are you saying that some churches are more evangELASTIC with the numbers than they are evangelistic in their ministries?

I think the problem is the need for tangible results for reporting purposes. If a missionary ministers in a town of 20,000 for six years with no conversions recorded, would he continue to receive support from the States? (SBC or other) Probably not. But if he reports growing attendance (even though he may be counting the goats and pigs) that can impress (can you count bathing a goat as a baptism?) the folks at home who only see the numbers.

But, with that said, I know of a missionary base in Brazil that does absolutely no ministry, but has a nice missions home and the "missionary" lives much better than those in the community. (It is not SBC, by the way)

My ramble is over. Sorry.

C.T. Lillies said...

This is hysterical. It's an inside joke and always has been that the pastor or whoever is counting Sunday School attendance always counts everyone in the building and then goes out into the parking lot to catch stray dogs and cars that pass by.

Yeah 'resolution', great idea...