Thursday, May 8, 2008

David Fitch on "Counting Conversions"

David Fitch has an interesting (and lengthy) post on "conversion" within a Post-Chistendom context on his blog today.

While the whole article is worth a read, I think he's beutifully breaking some new ground/calling out the elephant in the room when he gets into the numbers and economics of it all.

His hesitation to tread into such traditionally market-seeped and potentially divisive territory is certainly to be applauded; but the real prize is the golden questions he poses when he actually does get into it!

You can read his whole post here, or just nibble on my favorite part below.

(For context, the post is in response to comments made by Mark Driscoll suggesting that missional communities don't have any converts.)

"I think that the missional communities that do persist may have a higher conversion rate than the Drsicollesque mega church. Missional churches are so much smaller. 6 conversions from a group of 25 over ten years would match (or exceed) the percentage growth of a typical mega church. I think it would be interesting to measure how much dollars per conversion are spent in missional churches versus mega churches five to ten years from now when conversions start manifesting themselves in missional churches. I know I am not supposed to think this way, but I still smile when I think that indeed missional churches could be more cost effective when it comes to conversions because we resist spending money on buildings, programs and the show."


ron cole said...

Hey, James so much good stuff in that post, but my question around the " Driscollian " church, is how do they percieve conversion. In left the following comment on David Fitch's site... ... ...

I often heard it said that It's the stupid question that doesn't get asked, So I'll ask. How does Mark see conversion??

I more inclined to believe that real conversion is more likely to happen in a " missional " church. I mean look at the disciples, this collection of misfits and join Jesus in sort of seminary on the road. There is no statement of belief, no signing of membership...they just join and follow. But, it is in this profound missional experience of Jesus, " on the road ", out there in the world...where the rubber hits the where real conversion takes place.
In my mind if you can draw someone searching for a living faith of somekind into missional community heading the poor, healing the sick, seeking justice, restoring creation...they are going to see the redemptive imagination of Jesus. In the missional journey, conversion will be an evolution.
I think conversion in a Driscollian type church may be seen as as very different from a small missional community that flys under the radar of detection...and its effect can't be measured using the same tools.

ron cole said...

Oooops, that should be feeding the poor...heading them, well that just wouldn't be very missional.I must have een thinking about Manchester in the EUFA Cup soccer final.