It is not uncommon for evangelists to measure their success by counting the number of decisions made for Christ, or for pastors to measure their success by the number of people sitting in the pews on Sunday. Both of these are inaccurate measures of success because they indicate little about genuine spiritual life. But on the mission field another variation of the numbers game has developed: counting churches.
Among some advocates of church planting movements (CPM), it is not uncommon to hear reports about how many churches are planted here and there in such-and-such (short) period of time. The rapid multiplication of churches is seen as evidence of the work of God in bringing many people to Christ. Everyone is quick to shout their apparent successes from the rooftops, but neither missionaries, evangelists, nor pastors are as diligent in their reporting when new churches fold, new converts disappear, or attendees make for the back door of the church.