It does not matter….as long as one person is reached

This is interesting……. I read this on the “Confessions of a small pastor” blog…..

“It will be worth what we’re spending if only one person gets saved.” That comment came from a deacon when I was serving a previous church. He was referring to an expensive project we were undertaking. I nodded in agreement because his sentiment seemed so right. But after thinking about it some more, I decided he was wrong. Here’s why:

Good stewardship demands good planning. Throwing money at a project without careful planning can’t be justified whether it’s done by a church or government. Even if a church has plenty of money (most small ones don’t) adequate planning must be done to assess need, plan action, and specify outcome.
Return should be proportional to investment. For instance, we did a mailer to our entire area for a Christmas program 3 years ago. The direct mail piece, postage, and other expenses ran about $2,500. We mailed to 5,000 households expecting a 1-2% “return” of folks actually attending the program — in other words, 50-to-100 new people attending. Our normal attendance for events like that is about 100. Our actual attendance that night was 188. So, we were right on target with our goal. The next year we did a similar mailout which produced very little response. We dropped the mailers after they did not produce the results we sought.
Limited resources should be employed to produce the highest result. Often there are cheaper ways to accomplish the same thing. Rather than use a mailing list or service, have your church members develop your own mailing list. Or better still, have your members mail personalized cards or invitations to their circle of influence.


7 thoughts on “It does not matter….as long as one person is reached”

  1. Yes I read that too Mark and it jumped out at me. Churches I have been involved with have done similar things for mixed results. It makes sense and has got me thinking. Maybe for a big event like Christmas an ad in the local paper and personalised invitations from friends at the church might be better than a full on whole suburb letterbox drop. It would certainly be cheaper.

  2. I agree – if it matters enough to spend big $$$ on it, then it matters to see how its going.

    I have never bought the ‘worth it for one person’ argument,

  3. one question is…
    should “people getting saved” be part of our measurable outcomes?

    what measure are we going to use to see if “enough” people get saved to make a project or program “worth it”?

    Can the emphasis on qualitative justification ie, “THIS many people got saved at a single moment in time ie at this event” really be used when trying to assess what is essentially an ongoing process of day-to-day salvation?

    What if 100 people got “saved” at the event, would that make the event a success? What if the following week they all never came back to church? Would that make the event a failure? Could they have responded emotionally in the moment of the event and not even have “got saved” in the first place? Could our success to get a response at an event have something to do with successful manipulation of lights, sound and environment?

    Maybe this just shows why measuring “converts” may not be be a good indicator of a successful investment. This is NOT to say that those responses are not real or good or whatever – just that maybe placing our emphasis on them as an indicator of success might be inappropriate and ultimately beyond our control.

    Another pondering…
    why was the mail out a failure the second year? what makes the people certain the mail out was a success the previous year? how did the people know whether the mail out had anything to do with the attendance? Maybe the first year more people asked their friends than the second year. Maybe the second year there was something better on tv when the event was planned to run.

    Potentially we can end up drawing false conclusions and as a result, make misinformed future decisions. Maybe???

  4. He is wrong – what we spend saves no one, what we spend does not do the saving.

    Return being proportional to investment, I think I understand the gist of what you are saying, re the mailers – ummmm, I’m still thinking this through but it doen’t sound right.

  5. Usher: Maybe if they spent more on the lost and less on heating the church buildings they’d have more results

    Deacon: And if they met in the marketplace or their homes, they could actually talk to the visitors instead of preach at them, scare them with the greeters (with their Wal Mart antics) and if that’s not enough, kill them with their bad coffee……

  6. What’s wrong with the people in the church putting some gospel tracts and invitations in the letterboxes of the local community around the church. That’s free except the cost of the tracts. If people do not want to do that, WHY NOT? It may give people an opportunity to SPEAK TO the people of the community while they are doing it.

    Why are Christians so scared of people? Why a mailout, why not direct interaction with people. Get out there and be seen, and talk to people and get to know them…and preach the gospel to them- that’s what the discples did and it worked for them…

  7. I dont know whether anyone is saying not to do it ‘anon’.
    I dont think anyone is expressing fear to share the gospel, I do think the issue is how to most cost effectively do this.

    I agree about seeking opportunities to share the gospel. We should all be doing this!

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