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It is two o’clock on a Wednesday and Russell Price is on a conference call.
“Yeah, I know you’re behind budget in denominational support for 3 years straight, but I’m telling you, you’re not getting out of that spiral without the right leadership and that will probably cost you some money. …Uh-huh. …That’s what I’m sayin’ here. Look, the numbers don’t lie: fours years in this place and he’s got 121 professions of faith, 78 recommitments, 246 new members, a 15% rise in average worship attendance, and annual giving increases to show for it! …I get what you’re saying, so when you get ready to talk turkey let me hear from you. …Yep …Bye.”
It still feels awkward to trott out statistics like that. Raw, detached. More like making the case for a potential Hall of Fame baseball player than for a servant of God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. But someone’s got to cut through the mush and help people connect the dots, right?
A call back. Didn’t take so long. Personnel committees who’ve been leaned on by deacon boards tiring of running the show and harrassed by congregations growing weary of the interim pastor whose specialty is something other than preaching are more crisp decision-makers who respond pretty well when they hear the stats. There’s a myth in America that “the numbers don’t lie.” It seems to be true in baseball… well, except for the juicing. Still, powerful myth. No one’s sure if it’s true, but no one has figured out how to argue with it either.
“Can he preach this Sunday?”
“I don’t see a problem with that. Let me give him a call. I’ll confirm with you later today.”
“You betcha.” Rusty hangs up the phone. “Sold,” he says to himself before dialing the number. Part of selling your guy is knowing you’ve got someone worth selling, someone who’ll deliver.
“Andy… Rusty. Listen, how’s this Sunday for a preaching look-see? I think I’ve got you a winner…”