Pastor, stop counting the numbers of spectators who amass at your weekend events. Instead, fix your attention on those who are making a difference for Christ: those who are serving, contributing, ministering. Rivet your collective leadership attention here.

Decide what maturing in Christ looks like in your context. Is it serving the unchurched by giving sacrificially of one’s money, time, and talents? Count those who live this way. It is those who contribute, who serve, and who minister outside as well as inside the church who most likely are maturing as Christ-like disciples.

Count only these!

Focus on their progress. Use them as examples when you teach and train. Make them your congregation’s visible heroes.

Pay attention to their growth. Who among them is God stretching, growing, maturing, and strengthening?

What are the experiences that seem to contribute to the development of their character, confidence in ministry, trust in Christ, and tenderness of heart?

What can you, as a senior leadership team do to provoke your people to love and to do good works? [Hebrews 10:24]

While you’re doing that, wean yourself off your fixation with how many attend this or that. To undermine the 80/20 rule, stop yourself from caring about how many come and listen. Stop asking about how many simply sit and take and leave.

-Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at


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