Quality over quantity has been a mantra of churches for decades. Smaller churches use this phrase often. It is about quality not quantity. This saying wants to stress the impact a ministry can have on an individual rather than how many individuals are in the room. That, on the outside, looks laudable. It seems appropriate to care more about the value of how you are sharing or teaching the gospel over how many people hear it because we want the gospel to have impact.
Yes, in my many years in youth ministry, I have seen a lack of quality ministry lead to tremendous numbers. Once upon a time as a youth pastor, my first week at my new church was spent removing the beach chairs, bean bags, recliners, and couches out of the youth room replacing them with regular folding chairs. When the teens came in and saw what I had done, they were upset asking where the comfortable seats went. I told them its hard to learn and worship in a bean bag chair and if you think I am going to let teenagers on a couch in my ministry you are nuts. Shortly after that, I had a group of teens that did not want quality ministry, move to a church with more video game consoles. Those that stayed realized there was meat to the ministry, the youth ministry team and I were bringing. Yes, we can up our quantity by lessoning quality. That would be bad and sinful.
But you know what, we also can up our quantity without sacrificing quality.
As a pastor, do you know when I hear the phrase it is about quality over quantity? Two places; first, I hear it right after a ministry had lower than expected numbers: Vacation Buble School, Easter Sunrise Service, Evening Worship that each had low attendance. It is when these ministries occur, that do not have high attendance, we as church folks, quickly pull out the phrase, quality over quantity. There may have only been 25 people, but boy, did those 25 get our very best! Second, I hear this phrase right before a big ministry. You know preacher, this revival is about quality over quantity. Worship is about quality over quantity. Right after and right before big ministries, we pull out this old and common phrase.
Why? Because most of us are trying to make ourselves feel better about low numbers. It is not about the truth of the phrase. It is about justifying in our minds that our ministry is ok. I don’t have to knock on any doors. I don’t have to invite my neighbor. I don’t have to awkwardly share with coworkers. I don’t have pass out flyers. I do not have to do anything, whatsoever, to get another person to show up at my church if I just remember it is about quality over quantity.
That is a cop out. That is sin. Quality over quantity in the church has become a crutch to make us feel better about our lack of evangelism.
If ten more kids showed up at VBS, would that sacrifice quality? If five or six more families joined in worship, would that sacrifice quality? If you think the answer is yes, repent.
Five more families in your church, would bring fifteen to twenty people to your church. I imagine some of them would serve, giving you more servants in ministry. What do you know, they could add to the quality of your church too.
God wants both. He does not want either/or. He wants both/and. God is looking for quality AND quantity. If all these churches that stress quality are dedicated to quality like they state, numbers will not lesson the quality. It is possible to have both. As a pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention, I have had the privilege to visit other churches in the Tugalo Association and other Southern Baptist Convention churches for various ministries. I always wander around every church I visit. I grab brochures and flyers. i look and examine because I want to see how they do ministry for the gospel. I have been blown away by the awesome quality ministry of some of the larger churches I have visited. It is false to think that just because a church is large that it has somehow compromised quality.
Do not read this and think, I am saying we should chase numbers and forget about quality. If we watched Netflix and passed out popcorn on Sundays, I think my attendance would rise, but that sacrifice of quality would be sin. We need to strive for both. We need to be devoted, prepared, and determined to offer the highest quality of worship and ministry that we can. We also need to be sharing and invited and seeking to bring people into our congregations, so we can share our quality ministry with many.
It is not quality over quantity in the church. It is quality and quantity. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord does not delay His promise, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” (HCSB) Matthew 29:19a “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” (HCSB) God clearly desires to have many in His family. I believe 2 Peter 3:9 shows that he wants all people in His family. Let’s use our quality ministry and take the gospel to them.
Do not every use quality over quantity again to justify a lack of effort in inviting people into the gospel ministries of your church.