Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who Cares About Numbers?

"Great Crowds" followed Jesus everywhere He went.  (John 6:2 "And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.")

Did Jesus care about numbers? He must have...there is a book in the Bible called "Numbers."  Evidently God must consider numbers a factor at least to some degree.

I realize that numbers aren't everything.  However, numbers do count and can be foretelling of the fruitfulness or the fruitlessness of ministry. 

I find it interesting that the people who don't consider numbers a factor are the people that don't have any.  The truth is ... NUMBERS REPRESENT PEOPLE

One has to ask themselves..."Do the people who don't want numbers really care about bringing people to Jesus at all?"

Rick Warren makes a statement that is bold and true.  "A church that has no interest at all in increasing its number of converts is, in essence, saying to the rest of the world, 'You can all go to hell.'"

I've heard Pastors speak about their lack of church growth and say "We're a remnant" or "We don't want to be like those 'wordly' churches that are using gimmicks and compromise to grow their churches."  "We're happy with our four and no more."

It's as if there is a criticism of churches that are actually seeing measurable results...and then classifying them as "worldly" or "full of compromise" because of their growth. 

What is the real issue?  Believe me...there's more to write about here than this one blog can receive in one setting.  :-)
  • Why would anyone want to make a negative comment about a church that is actually seeing results? 
  • How can you "knock" their method if the message is coming through?
  • If you're not in the game - quit criticizing the people who are.
I have an issue with people in ministry who constantly critique others but they themselves bare no measurable fruit.  I also tire of the "status quo" we tolerate from them just because they've at least been "faithful."  Friends, we can be faithful to something that isn't fruitful.  Jesus said whatever bears no fruit should be cut down and cast into the fire.  (Ouch...did I just say did.  I believe His words are true even if they make me evaluate my life, ministry, relationships, etc.)

When the horse is dead, it's time to dismount.

Jesus Himself was criticized.  Some chose not to believe in Him even though they had witnessed His miracles.  (John 14:11 "Believe me that I (am) in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works' sake.")

I was raised in smaller churches. (No negativity intended)  As I look back over my shoulder I can see that there were certain mindsets that trapped and even shaped my thinking.  It seemed that we spoke about evangelism but really did very little of it.  We even called our Sunday night service "Evangelistic Night."  However, what was so evangelistic about it?  We weren't evangelizing...(just by having another church service)...we were simply preaching to the same group of people that had been there that morning.

It seemed that our idea of evangelism was "Lord send them in!"  Isn't this opposite of what Jesus said to do?  He said, "GO YE." 

"Go ye" the opposite of "Lord send them in!"

I realize that numbers aren't everything.  You can have 100 people in your church but that doesn't mean they're all living sold-out lives for God or growing in their relationship with the Lord.

Any church that is doing "something" progressive (i.e., discipleship, evangelism, etc.) is going to be labeled and even ostracized for doing it.  The truth is, we can't get to our destiny point with out taking a risk.

I have taken the mindset that "numbers do matter" - but not because I'm trying to build a kingdom or empire unto myself.  Numbers matter because we need both QUALITY and QUANTITY to accomplish the GREAT COMMISSION.

Quality matters.  Quantity matters.  Everything matters.

Here's a question:  How many staff members would our church need if we grew to 1000, then 1500, then 2000?  Do numbers matter?  Indeed.

The same question could be asked to a church that is already running 2000.  How many staff members would we need if our church attendance slipped from 2000 to 200?  Would we be able to keep all the men/women who work on staff employed?  Numbers do matter.

Lets keep it real...those who really argue against numbers could be doing so because of an inability to see results.  They can either face up to it or continue to hold to a mindset that "numbers don't matter."

If we had our choice between having three or thirty people accept Christ, which would we choose?  We would choose thirty.  Why?  Because numbers matter to God. 

Why in the world would any pastor desire to see fewer people get saved than more people?  They would not and should not.  Numbers matter.

I'm so thankful for the number of people we've been able to reach...but I can't stop thinking about the numbers of people that still need to be reached.

BFWC must continue to grow!  Healthy things grow.  I'm not satisfied with where we're at.  I'm thankful for what's been accomplished for the King...but I'm not satisfied.
  • I'm not satisfied to go one week and not see a soul saved.
  • I'm not satisfied to go one week and not connect with a new family.
  • I'm not satisfied to go one week and not see the altars full of holy hunger.
  • I'm not satisfied preaching to empty seats.
  • I'm not satisfied with being satisfied.
To all my friends who are enlisted in the army and fighting the good fight...keep doing what you're doing!  Reach more NUMBERS (people) - go ahead and fulfill the GREAT COMMISSION in spite of what your critics are saying!  Shoot for RECORD NUMBERS this weekend and BUST THE DEVIL IN THE CHOPS!

To BFWC - we haven't converted all 1.3 million residents of Central Indiana yet.  Is there anyone out there as hungry as I am to make a KINGDOM IMPACT?