The rat race comes to church

Andrew Sullivan points to this Smart Set essay, which suggests that the world’s work and the Lord’s work are sometimes judged by precisely the same standard:

In the world of business, it’s all about the numbers. In the world of ministry, it’s all about the numbers as well. Put lots of bodies in the pews and dollars in the plate and everyone loves you. But if things stagnate or decline, someone will say that it’s time for the minister to move on. The same rules that govern the rat race govern the church world. Churches may not fail at the rate of small businesses, but pastors fail at a surprisingly high rate. Twenty-five percent of us will be forced out of a church at least once in our career. And the attrition rate for people leaving the ministry stands around 10 percent. There are a lot of reasons people quit. But at the heart of most of these moves are the numbers. Congregations will forgive a lot if the numbers are up. The rat race is alive and well in small churches.

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