Random thoughts on Life, Leadership, & Messy Spirituality

YES – We Are All About Numbers!

One of the MANY reasons I & our church catch flak from people/church’s is because of our unwavering focus on reaching people for Christ. Yes – we do focus on discipleship, small groups, caring for those in our church, etc – but our #1 goal – unapologetically – is reaching people for Christ & growing the Kingdom of Heaven.

Our constant prayer is for God to grow our church spiritually, numerically, & financially. Spiritually – so we are becoming more & more like Jesus; Numerically – because all healthy organisms grow & a healthy, God-honoring church is a growing church; Financially – so that we have the resources to carry out all of the ministry & mission work God has called us to do.

And YES – we count the number of people coming on Sundays, the number of people in Life Groups, the number of people serving in ministry teams, etc. And YES – we catch a lot of flak because of “our focus on numbers”. However, rather than me laying out what I believe is the Biblical mandate for us to focus on numbers – I’ll let someone else do that today…

(Below is a great article by Steven Furtick, the lead pastor of Elevation Church in Charlotte, NC which I think does a brilliant job of putting this in perspective.)

I get asked all the time if Elevation church is all about the numbers.

Let me just clarify something:

Our church is all about the numbers.

The number of lives that Jesus can permeate and penetrate with the gospel.

The number of marriages that can be restored.

The number of teenagers following the Lord.

The number of depressed people that can find hope in Jesus.

The number of dads who don’t give their kids any attention who will learn to order their lives by the Word of God and start prioritizing their families.

What else matters? What else should we be about?

This might come as a shock to a lot of people, but measuring numbers and putting an emphasis on them isn’t a new phenomenon. 2000 years ago, Luke by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote:

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day … And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. - Acts 2:41, 47

Apparently God is all about the numbers. So I want to be, too. And so should you.

It’s unacceptable to me as a pastor that we would stop growing when the Lord wants to add to our number daily those who are being saved. And in order for that to happen, we need to track every scrap of statistical data at our disposal. We’ve got to make sure we’re measuring ministry numbers to measure our effectiveness and enlarge the Kingdom of God. I don’t want to waste a single dollar or second on a program, piece of equipment, or ministry position that isn’t the best option for reaching the most people.

You might be averse to numbers for a number of reasons.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of big crowds. If that’s the case, you wouldn’t have liked the New Testament Church. And you really won’t like heaven.

Maybe you think it steals away from discipleship. It’s possible. But it’s just as possible for that to happen in a church of 10 people as it is in a church of 10,000.

Whatever your reason is, remember: every number is indicative of a story.

Personally, I don’t want to put a cap on the number of stories God wants to redeem. Especially when I read this:

I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God.” – Revelation 7:9-10

Now that’s a number worth shooting for. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait until I die to see this. I want to see this partially fulfilled in my lifetime. More people worshipping Jesus than I can count.

I want to see a little heaven on earth through Elevation Church. Through every church. I think it’s what God wants too.

And that’s why we’re all about the numbers.

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  1. Pingback: Top 10 Posts from 2012 «

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