Church Growth
Sorry, Pastor – Numbers Are NOT People
Church metrics can be helpful. But only if we use them wisely. And hold them lightly.

It’s a problem when we honor the substitute (attendance figures) over the reality (engagement with real people).

As pastors, we need to be careful not to be like the doctor with a bad bedside manner who spends all their time staring at the blips on a heart monitor while ignoring the actual person in front of them. That’s what we do when we constantly tout attendance numbers to a congregation of nameless faces. No matter how big or small the church may be.

Numbers Count, People Matter

Certainly, when a church gets beyond a certain size (usually 200 or so) it becomes impossible for any single person to know everyone’s names. That’s why healthy large churches work so hard at getting people connected to each other in small groups where they can be taught, discipled and pastored on a more personal level.

So this is not a rant against big churches. Pastors of small churches can be numbers-obsessed, too.

Numbers do matter. But people matter more.

This is a reminder to put people ahead of stats. Whether our church is growing, shrinking or static, we need to celebrate stories of changed lives more than our attendance numbers.

Don’t pursue a bigger crowd at the cost of a healthier church. We need congregations where people truly do come before numbers.

Keep ministering. Keep reaching for growth. And keep counting.

Numbers do matter. But people matter more.

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October 16, 2017 at 8:00 AM

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