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It's Quality of Service, Not Numbers, That Really Counts

August 04, 1996

Thank you for the profile of the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, son of Robert H. Schuller of the Crystal Cathedral ("Following the Father," July 7). Having heard both a few times on television or radio, I believe they are called by God and have above average gifts and graces. Certainly their ministry is helpful to many people.

As a fellow Christian minister, I find much to support in what young Schuller says. I take exception, however, to one of his quotes: "The measure of leadership is directly related to how many people follow you."

Over 40 years, I've served a dozen churches. The most effective and satisfying ministry I had was in a church of 350 members and 200 average attendance. Thousands of pastors work with much smaller congregations faithfully and with profound impact for good.

I believe that to make the size of a leader's following the basic measure of success is distracting at best and ultimately prideful and counterproductive. Certainly we should try to grow in effectiveness and influence, but so many factors are involved: The nature of the cause one leads, the market for the message, the integrity of the messenger, the means of communication available.

The New Testament does mention growth in numbers of Christ's followers beyond the first 12 disciples, and we are called to go to all the world. But I believe there is no "quota" required beyond two or three gathered.


First United Methodist Church

San Fernando

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