One of the real misconceptions that a lot of folks have about church growth is that it’s all about numbers…more, bigger, greater, etc. There are people out there who actually think it’s somehow unspiritual to even count the people or keep track of their spiritual progress.
Mark Waltz, at Granger Community Church, wrote one of my favorite new books First Impressions: Creating Wow Experiences In Your Church.
In one of his recent blog posts, Mark wrote about why counting and numbers and all that are important. Numbers are important because behind every number, there’s a person who matters to God, and who ought to matter to me. Behind every number, there’s somebody who’s hurting or seeking or wandering or wondering. Behind every number, there’s a unique individual with an awesome story of how God is working in her or his life.
They count carefully at Granger. Why? Mark says…
- We still count attendance on the weekends to measure the effectiveness of our efforts to draw a crowd to hear that God says they matter.
- We still count those who are volunteering, serving in the ministry. We believe that’s a good sign of growth, ownership, or at least interest in our mission of following Christ.
- We still count giving. We believe it reflects growth and surrender of people’s hearts. It also helps us be responsible with our ministry vision. Oh, yeah, the auditors like it, too.
- We still count people who are connected in relational environments such as groups, core classes, retreats and events. Every step taken toward Christ matters.
We should count because counting is one way – not the only way – to determine if we are being faithful to the missio Deo, the mission of God.
We shouldn’t count just to post higher numbers than the folks across the street or up the hill or in the next town. We shouldn’t count just to be able to brag on Mondays. We shouldn’t count just so we can look good when our denomination comes calling.
We should count because people count. As Mark says, every time you click on his blog, “…because People Matter.”