The American Church today has a tendency to get caught up in the numbers. We count attendance on Sunday morning and get excited when we have “lots” of people show up to an event. We send numbers on a mission trip and get caught up in the number of raised hands at the number of outreaches, or building projects, or school assemblies that we do.
Stop. What do the numbers really mean? Are they new believers who have found a new home church or people who left the church across town because something didn’t go their way? Are they lasting discipleship opportunities or emotional responses that will fade like the seed sown in the rocky soil?
I am so sick of the numbers. What if we were more concerned with opportunities, even if they don’t add to our numbers? What if we took every discipleship opportunity even if that means only one person is added to the Body? What if we were more excited about the testimony of the one kid who grew up coming to root beer float days and now attends church across town weekly than the fifty who come and take a flyer and leave until next year?
I am not saying that numbers are not important, but the long term impact that we have on even one life is more important than a hundred church events.
Churches need to quit competing for the same numbers and instead add new lives, new impacted families, new communities. We are a team, all of us at all the churches in town who preach the Good News are on the same team trying to positively impact our community for Christ.
Go, plant lots of seeds all over and some may take root. However, count the ones that take root not the seeds, because only the ones that take root and grow will produce good fruit.
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! 9 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Matthew 13:4-8