I realize we’re not supposed to be really concerned about losing people. It’s hard to think that way, though, when our culture values your influence, effectiveness, and credibility in ministry based on the number of people you reach. The most common question people ask me about our church is, “How many people attend?” Every week we are required to report the number of people in attendance. In fact, from Peter’s first sermon after Pentecost, we’ve been counting people.
We have to regularly fight our fear of losing people in order to stay focused on what we are called to do. But when we step out in faith and push towards Sunday services that are more like practicums than speaking performances, we are described as “radical” and people (including leaders) threaten to leave. Sometimes we’re more successful at battling that fear than other times, but it remains a constant tension.