The critical decision that the modern church must make is whether or not to raise up disciples or customers. The results will be very different.
You can have a very big church filled with customers. Appeal to the expectations, calm every complaint, give the old guard what they want, and appease the donors. This can generate a gathering of satisfied church-attenders who bring their friends, promising them a similar customer-satisfaction experience.
On the other hand, a church can create disciples. This necessarily requires telling people that they can’t have what they want, that Jesus’ call is to take up your cross and to die to yourself. A church in a frenzy of attracting customers can never deliver a message like this. A church that delivers a message like this will never attract customers. But it is fundamentally the road to discipleship. Churches that create disciples define their purpose by their mission, not by the whims of their shareholders.
The result of a disciple-making church is a most likely initially smaller but impassioned group of people who are truly committed to the mission of Jesus in the world. But when a gathering of people takes Jesus’ mission to heart, they become an unstoppable force for the kingdom.
The leadership of the church just has to decide at the beginning, when the groundwork for the church is being laid: customers or disciples?