Looking for Growth Beyond the Numbers

file0001938132513You can pretty well predict a pastor’s mood on Sunday afternoon by how the attendance figures looked that morning. If the numbers were up then the pastor’s mood is up, if down then the pastor’s mood is down. Some Sunday afternoons finds the pastor’s mood just so so, because attendance was average. 

It’s hard not to play the numbers game. I know, there’s a place for numbers. Each number represents a precious human being possessing a soul we want to see turned to God. But, there’s more than numbers growth, and sometimes we need to celebrate that. 

Take, for instance, a few weeks ago in my own church. A man shared with a small group of us how he found out his ex-wife (it was never his idea she become an ex-wife) was battling cancer. He had to go over to her house to connect with a grown daughter they share together. He related to us how he had a nice and cordial conversation with his ex-wife, telling her how sorry he was to hear of her situation. Then he asked, “Would you like for me to pray for you?” She responded, “That would be nice.” So he did. He told us, “You know, a few years ago I would never have done that.” 

Now that’s growth in a church, spiritual growth! I’d encourage all of us to be sensitive to seeing where spiritual growth is happening among our people. It could be a real encouragement to be reminded that God is doing some pretty great things in our midst, and it may have nothing to do with numbers!

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