The Fifth E -- Expand

5 E's that has been part of Unichurch's mission statement for as far as I can remember.

  • Evangelise
  • Edify
  • Equip
  • Export
  • Expand

In yesterday's Unichurch Together, where each congregation reported their progress on one of these 5 E's. Praise to the Lord when there has been growth in almost all dimensions!

Except for Expand. Number has gone down from 500 to 400. Partly due to forking off AABC to St. Marks Malabar, and other forms of "over-exporting". However, not sure whether I am the only person who has noticed it -- Rex Vowels Theatre just does not feel as packed this year. Josh said that the number was "about the same", so was that just my own disillusion? The back rows were rarely used, where they used to be packed with late-comers last year.

So I had this discussion with Vivian last night. If the goal of this church is to expand, as stated in the mission, then what would be the most effective way to achieve it.

Putting on new staffs certainly would have an effect on the church growth. I guess the idea is, if there are enough staff workers, be it MTS or clergy, to look after things/people that need to be looked after, combining with equipping people to do evangelism, church will hopefully grow. But would that be the most effective approach?

I guess it meant performance / effort, even in the ministry world. It is not important if effort is cheap, or we have unlimited supply of these. Unfortunately, we are still living in this fallen world. My worry on church finances a few months ago still stand true today. We are short (like almost every year) -- but can extra staffs, potentially expensive human resources, help us to expand and bring the church back to self-sufficient state? I seriously don't know.

The worldly way of "performance measurement" would be head counts, and that roughly translates to "market size" x "market share". Being a university church, our market size is pretty much fixed. Students, mainly living locally. What about market share? We can still work on the market share, as there are still students all over campus that do not know Christ. However, have we gotten to a point where by adding double the resources might only produce 50% return?

I am quite tempted to say, "Let's expand the market. Let's focus on the workers, the families, the local communities, etc." However, the overhead of a community church is also heavy. Moreover, would that hinder us to put students first? While it is great to keep the grads, I do not wish to see FOCUS loosing its mission to evangelise the world -- by training, equipping and exporting the students.

After all, what makes Unichurch/FOCUS unique is their concentrated focus on the students. It just seems to be strategically wrong to divert and be diluted for expansion reasons.

And I don't think that much about "expansion" now. We are in a niche market, ministering the university students. We've been doing well in this niche market, but there's always more to do. With our current position, it might just make more sense to be a good hobby shop, than expanding to everything-sells-here dollar shop.

I know it is probably easier for me to say, that we shall just trust God to resolve all our issues. Besides the fact that "trust God to resolve my issues" (though I might think it is His issue) is not entirely biblical, how should we, as good stewards on the resources God provided for us, to still trust God in his work?