The famous Gallup polling company recently did some research as to why people attend church assemblies. The biggest two reasons: sermons that teach about Scripture, and sermons that help relate Scripture to everyday life. The smallest response came with regard to “a good choir, praise band, or other spiritual music.” Interesting.
Does that prove that preaching is a powerful motivator for those who seek God? Or does it prove that people who like “good music” stay away? Would “improving” our music bring in a new crowd, or just diminish the enthusiasm of the already converted?
These questions and a dozen more like them are primary reasons why I don’t like polling with regard to spiritual matters. We have a tendency to read poll results in the way that is most advantageous to us anyway. Reacting, perhaps radically, to polling data may wind up fixing problems that don’t exist, and creating brand new ones besides.
So yet again, God’s way seems to work best. Instead of trying to determine what’s hindering our effectiveness (all the while being wholly unsure how ineffective we truly are), we just focus that much more on doing what God tells us to do. We accept our inability to chart our own path (Jeremiah 10:23), and we wholeheartedly embrace His complete adequacy (Psalm 119:105).
The poll numbers may rise or fall, but then we weren’t really ever trying to please people in the first place (Galatians 1:10).