FIRST-PERSON: How Count the Cost Helped my Church – California Southern Baptist Convention

FIRST-PERSON: How Count the Cost Helped my Church

Published Jan 03, 2023

How would you like to know on a month-to-month basis which aspects of your church ministry are on target and which need more attention? Large churches have a staff and resources that give their pastor such vital information, but regular and small size churches usually “guess and hope.” I didn’t want to “guess and hope” anymore.

I have been a local church pastor for nearly thirty years. I have experienced church growth, decline, and everything in between. I’ve seen all the church growth and “quick fix” programs that have been published in the last few decades. I believe that faithful preaching of God’s word, making disciples, caring for your congregation, and evangelizing the lost are still the most essential aspects of a local church. I also know that even though you may be working hard doing all those things, plus more, your church may still struggle as an organization.

In those difficult times, it can be hard to get all the pertinent information one might need to help you make the proper organizational adjustments. Nothing could be worse than finding out that what you were doing wasn’t working for six months, but you never knew.

When I became the pastor of Huntington Beach Church, I wanted real-time, accurate data because our church could not afford to shrink or even remain status quo. Our church needed to grow and needed a way to measure our efforts monthly so we could make the necessary adjustments before too much time had passed. I needed a simple measurement tool that gave me timely feedback about the trends in my church.

I reached out to the CSBC and our local association for help and was introduced to “Count the Cost” (CTC). This measurement tool, created by Bill Agee, was exactly what I was looking for. We entered data for seven aspects of our church into the CTC tool, and the algorithm printed out five years of monthly goals for each of those seven aspects of our church. I took those goals to our church staff, organized teams to focus on each of those goals, and got to work.

Our staff loved it!

CTC goals were specific, doable, and measurable. Our staff was able to focus on short-term goals, celebrate wins each month, and make quick adjustments. We began developing strategies to reach new people, increase our weekly attendance, develop more groups and ministry leaders, and celebrate more baptisms. CTC helped us to define our monthly targets and to measure our results.

“This changes everything,” one staffer told me. “It helps to have clear goals and communication. I feel like our church has an effective process for growing our ministries.”

I completely agree.

A CTC coach called me each month to hear my report, encourage me, and pray with me. I looked forward to those monthly calls because of the added spiritual fellowship. I could talk about all that was going on in our church with someone outside my staff and share my thoughts and feelings with someone that was praying for our success. This provided me with accountability and support, which made a huge difference.

Because of CTC, we were able to build ministry teams around each of our CTC goals. As a result, we saw an incredible increase in people who wanted to volunteer. On Sunday mornings, we often share testimonies about how certain CTC goals were met and who helped us meet them. When goals are clear and “wins” are celebrated, people want to get involved.

After utilizing CTC for years, I can personally confirm that the tool works. It is not a “church growth program” or another “quick-fix” for a church. It is a measurement tool. It is a tool any church can use, no matter the size, structure, or philosophy of ministry. I had a desire for our church to reach certain benchmarks in five years, and CTC gave me the ability to measure our monthly progress toward those benchmarks. It helped me stay focused and optimistic. It helped me make decisions while using realistic, accurate data and statistics in our organization. It helped me communicate our goals, strengths, and weaknesses to our staff.

Count the Cost blessed our church.