This week I am teaching a Doctor of Ministry intensive at Ashland Theological Seminary on "Leadership in the Twenty-First Century," subtitled, "Theology and Ministry in a Postmodern World." One of the discussions we have had is on how we assess a vital church.
One of the questions that has been raised is whether or not pastors and congregations are too focused on Sunday morning worship attendance as the major indicator of vitality. Shouldn't we also look at Sunday School (which I think is actually a more significant indicator)? How about the Bible studies during the week, the ministry in the community, and the time individual parishioners volunteer in various ministries?
The point is not that worship attendance is unimportant, but are we too focused on it? I suspect that I am like most pastors-- on a Sunday when attendance is down, I am down about it. The next Sunday when attendance is great, I am quite pleased. But without suggesting that worship attendance is irrelevant, is it really the be all and end all of assessing the vitality of an individual congregation?
What do you think?