Numbers aren’t everything but they sure do help. That is the problem with numbers. When you have a bunch of people come to your service you feel great but when the numbers drop you feel terrible. Your self-worth gets attached to these numbers. That is probably why ministers play the number game. You know, when 15 people show up but you go ahead and round that to 20. 40 people might as well be 50 and 75 is as good as a hundred. Pretty soon you are rounding 600 to an even thousand.
When you round like that it is much easier to ignore the dropping numbers unless they drop below the next level. You have 40 people one week and 35 people the next week you can still round that to 50 right? Going from 700 to 600 definitely counts at 1000 still, so it’s all good. The problem with the number game is, people aren’t numbers.
Tonight I felt really good because we had a great crowd. Our numbers have gone up every week for the past month or so and this is great for the number game I play in my head, but I’m also convicted about playing this game. There were real people there at church and they had real needs.
I had a girl come back to Youth that hasn’t been in service for almost 3 months. She brought 2 friends with her that have never been. I had a boy that hasn’t been to service in even longer. There was a girl there that hadn’t been in service in about 5-6 years. She was asking about the YP from back then. I’m not sure if she had been in any church since then. There were a few other visitors and I’m sad to say I counted them as numbers first and people second. I did make a point to talk to each of them and to try and make them feel welcome. I was honest in my intent with all of that not just trying to keep my numbers up, but so much of me is wired to think of the number as a real value.
I don’t know how long I will wrestle with this issue. I don’t know if I will ever completely overcome the number game, but I can try to make myself keep people more important than numbers.