"It comes down to accountability.
You see, when difficulties arise in the congregation, and they always do at some level, I am a part of a system of accountability that is far broader than who is for me and who is against me in the congregation."
-- from Only Wonder Understands
"[T]he life of discipleship is designed to be experienced in community. While Jesus calls us to follow Him, He does not call us to follow Him alone. But even for folks who acknowledge the need for 'church,' there can still be a sense of Lone Ranger-ism to their walk with the Lord. This is not only unhealthy; it is unbiblical. On his album The House Show, Derek Webb says that life in God’s community is part of the Gospel, and when we either shun the community or denigrate it, we are insulting the very good news of salvation itself, because a main reason why the good news is so good is that it brings redemption to our relationships with God and His children and it restores us to the family of His elect."
-- I know it's lame to quote myself, but that's from a post of mine at Mysterium Tremendum
"In ministry, growth almost unequivocally means more in numbers. In fact, we really don’t have to clarify what we mean when we say the word growth. It’s now assumed to mean numeric increase. Thus, in a wholesale way we’ve come to measure success very much like the world. The conclusion is that because a church has grown numerically it is effective at reaching lost people - which of course may or may not be true. Also, just because a church has many people and programs does not mean that it is making disciples. Activity does not equal productivity and growing good church attendees does not necessarily equate to developing authentic disciples of Jesus. In fact, some might argue that in the Western world these are polar opposites.
So if the primary goal is gaining more people who attend church (and let’s face it- that is the goal for most pastors) then how to get them there would logically be front and center. But that focus misses the most important consideration of all and I believe pastors dismiss this more critical matter way too quickly. Instead of how, the first consideration should be why... Why are we doing this thing called church?"
-- from Mike Ayers' blog LeadershipNext