Do Numbers Matter?

Over the years I have heard my share of comments about how churches are only interested in “numbers.” While I have never overheard a Christian pastor actually say their goal is successful numbers, I have heard pastors say numbers matter. I agree.

The Bible is riddled with numbers: number of days spoken at creation, the call in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply, specific numbers of armies both great and small. In fact, in the book of Acts, the Lord added daily “numbers” to those who were being saved. The book of Revelation speaks of multitudes of people from every tribe and nation together. Heck, there is even an entire book in the Bible called Numbers!

One who reads the Word has to agree that numbers matter because people matter. Each number represents a soul that matters to God and therefore, ought to matter to us. Each number represents someone who needs to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For example, the Great Commission which is one of the most significant passages in the Bible. It is Jesus telling us to make disciples. Counting is a way to see how obedient we are in following that direction. Numbers matter because people matter.

Numbers not only matter to churches, they also matter to denominations. When I consult churches that are hurting, it’s about the dwindling numbers. If it’s a growing church with a great movement of people coming alive in Christ, it’s about what to do with the numbers. This is why I am so excited about what the Gospel Alliance is doing. Our highest value is about Gospel multiplication. We believe if we make disciples, start churches that are reformed, orthodox, and evangelical, we will see a potential renewal and revival in a declining denomination. Numbers matter because people matter.

Let’s remember this – God is sovereign over all numbers. He saves, He calls, and He multiplies. He asks us to be witnesses, ambassadors who pray, and seek to gain greater numbers for His name and fame. Numbers matter because people matter.

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1 Comment

  1. No Christian would surely disagree that adding people into God’s kingdom matters alot. 2 Cor 5- 17-20 says very clearly that is the task God has given to us. Paul is clear the message and the ministry of reconcilliation are given to us. My concern is that just adding numbers to our pews on Sunday is not what matters most to God. I think its being sure those persons sitting in the pews have a clear picture of what God expects of those who consider themselves Christ followers. Jesus seemed to set a very high standard saying if you’re not willing to forsake everything you can’t be my disciples. When people came saying first I need to go and do some things before I can follow He said No. He talked about a narrow path and a straight gate and He said ” Few ” will find that path. I’m just questioning the standards were teaching and preaching in many of our churches today. A popular Christian song says ” I have decided to follow Jesus ” . I wonder if it would be more true if today we would sing ” I have decided to believe in Jesus ” the following part I’m not sure what that really means. I’m just concerned that what it means to follow Jesus is not always very clear. Many people followed Jesus when He walked here on earth but many left because His teaching was not easy. Paul begged us in Romans 12 to offer ourselves as living sacrifices and not to conform to the world. It’s getting hard to tell the difference anymore beween the world and the church when it comes to our stewardship or many of our social beliefs or practices. My fear is that the budget requirements in many of our churches make it very important to keep the pews full but maybe for the wrong reason. Please don’t misunderstand me I want all kinds of people to come but those numbers can lead to a false sense of success. The numbers that really matter to God are the ones that are actually added to His kingdom. John 3-16 says God so loved the world but there was a condition to not perishing. Lets just be sure we are setting the right condition for a Christ follower then the numbers will really matter .

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