"Another topic I would like to discuss is the difference between growth and real growth. We have heard some about this today. In Church terms, growth could be defined as new members. New members come through children baptized at age eight as well as convert baptisms. Real growth, however, is defined as growth in the number of active members.
In some areas of the Church we have dramatic growth in new members, yet active membership remains stagnant or grows only a little. We have some measurable ways to indicate activity in the Church, such as sacrament meeting attendance, ordination to the priesthood at the right age, missionary service, and possession of a current temple recommend. Perhaps the more accurate indicators of real growth in the gospel of Jesus Christ are those that we can’t measure as easily, such as daily prayer, scripture study, family home evening, love at home and for our neighbor, and personal experiences with Christ’s Atonement. These are recorded not by a clerk in Church records but in our hearts and in heaven.
Our missionary efforts are compromised if we baptize God’s children but do not maintain love and friendship with these precious new members who are excited to find fellowship with the Saints and a place of belonging in the household of God." (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, World-Wide Training Session)