Sunday, April 24, 2005

Number Crunching and Ministry

There has always been some disagreement among those in various Ministries, especially Christians, as to whether or not we should be worrying about numbers, and numerical growth, etc. I, for one, value numbers. I see it as a measure of 'how we're doing' or 'are we on track'?

I also believe that 'numbers' do not represent the total picture. I value qualitative measures as well. My difficulty is with those that only look at the latter, with no regard whatsoever for quantification. In fact, nothing irks me more than when they say "God doesn't care about numbers."

Well, I finally found someone who agrees. Ed Young of Fellowship Church in Dallas. Here is what an October 2003 article in VISION magazine said: 'Although many church leaders may not like to talk about it, Ed says that it's really all about the "numbers". He asks, "How did the shepherd know there were only 99 sheep in the sheepfold if he didn't count them?"'

Because people vote with their feet and their wallets, it's imporant to evaluate your church's effectiveness by asking the following questions and knowing answers to them:
  1. How many people chose to show up?
  2. Are we growing?
  3. Are lives being changed and can you hear the difference when you listen?
  4. How many people are involved in ministry?
  5. Are people giving?
  6. How many people are involved in small groups?
  7. Are people being baptized?
  8. How many people are going to the newcomers class or the discipleship class?

If you don't care about numbers, and you don't worry about the answers to these questions, then you'll never know what needs to be done in order to do it, and you'll never reach your potential as part of the body of Christ.

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