Should Your Church Count on Numbers?

flock

Keeping track of numbers may not seem like the most rewarding job of a pastor, and sometimes churches that consider revenue generation or increasing attendance a priority are accused of being proud or boastful; but like secular organizations, it’s important for churches to keep track of revenue and even promote income generation and greater participation.

Numbers, such as the amount of people in the pews each week and the number of people baptized each year, matter because those numbers indicate participation by the congregation, and for most churches, this IS the bulk source of revenue generation. The real question is, “Do numbers matter to God?”

In secular business, numbers matter a lot. In order to measure success and to ensure that employees are performing, businesses have to ‘count’ many things. Is it right for pastors to measure these numbers, too?

It’s important to keep track of numbers. Whether a team of employees at a business or a congregation of followers who attend church, there’s a responsibility to manage money correctly to benefit sustaining the organization. Just like a family, it’s not only important to count your earnings so that you may provide for its well-being but also to count kids when jumping in the car to make sure that no one is left behind!

Jesus counted a lot of things. Jesus spent about 25% of his stewardship talking about numbers, including money and what to do with it.

We read in the Bible that one boy brought Jesus five loaves of bread and two fish and Jesus took those and fed 5,000 men, women and children – with some left to spare! The Bible counts attendance. Acts 2:47 discusses how Peter’s speech converted around 3,000 people who would later repent and be baptised. We know exactly how many days it rained in the story of Noah, how many days Jesus was in the wilderness and how many commandments God gave Moses.

In fact, you don’t have to read too far into the Bible to come across an entire book called Numbers. The Bible begins with a count-down of the first 7 days of creation.

1God calls on every family to live responsibly, which includes counting money, tithing and ensuring that everyone lives within the family’s means. As a church leader it’s your duty to do the same. It’s important to be responsible with numbers to meet your church’s current needs and prepare for future needs.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but maintaining a flock requires counting. A shepherd has to count to make sure that the whole flock stays together, and a spiritual shepherd must count members, small groups and the dollars it takes to maintain the church physical structure. Though counting may not be the most fun or rewarding part of being a pastor, it’s important to allocate numbers, responsibly.

Be proactive when going over your church’s numbers! Use what you find in the numbers to come up with ideas about how to improve your church. For instance, take a look at whether you can grow your current house of worship to include cost effective and easy to erect metal building expansions that may house the youth group. Maybe you are ready to hire another preacher to aid congregation expansion or you want to spend money on church renovations!

But what remains most important to pastors is the need to care about human numbers. Inside the church, faces and hearts count. The faces of your flock are the most important numbers you have available to you. Though it’s important to count finances it’s the emotional investment you create in each member that’s the most important.

When it comes to the relationship between a pastor and the congregation, make wise decisions because remember, you’re counting them, but they’re counting ON you.

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Photo courtesy: Son of Groucho

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