The more strictly you adhere to the teachings of Jesus, the smaller the church will "grow." One of the most crucial skills of a military commander is, in the face of defeat, to lead a retreat that doesn't turn into panic or a massacre. And one of the most crucial skills for pastors and church lay leaders is to manage church decline when people are leaving because they see, finally, what Jesus is asking of them. This is not a job for the faint of heart, and will require great wisdom to manage resources, personnel, and morale in such a time.Since it's not written by a Lutheran in a collar (anathema), or any kind of Lutheran (suspect, unless possessing a soul patch or giant bank account), maybe the purple potentates will listen.
Evangelicals have become the unmatched experts in church growth, but often end up with a truncated gospel. If we are to live into the full counsel of God in the years to come, I believe we'll need a few experts in church shrink.
counting=not the best use of the church's time. We see Scriptural examples of both increase and decrease as a result of faithful proclamation. The numbers just don't tell us whether we (or anyone else) are doing a good job. Membership trend analyses and judgments are so not a mark of the Church.