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.