How can you tell if your church/social organization is about products, or about people? How you think about “growth.”

For social sector servants.

If you’re goal is growth, most likely you’re into products and not into service, you’re in business, not in benevolence, you’re into capital, not in the cause. And you probably think of your services, your preaching, your teaching, as a commodity. Growth, as a primary goal and key marker for “success,” is an indicator that you’re producing something that you want promulgated for the purpose — and here’s the rub — of your welfare, not your constituents. Growth can never be the bottom line for a church, etc.

Growth is a by-product of healthy service, not a metric of effective service. As soon as it becomes the metric, you cease being in the social service industry.

Service on the other hand, is about end results measured by the mission, vision, and values of your endeavor. Growth — numerical and expansive growth — in this perspective, is irrelevant.

To truly be in service in the social sector, you must think and talk about growth as a means and not as an ends. Growth may be necessary for “sustainability,” which is a means for your service, but it cannot be the ends.

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