Not the book of Numbers, so much, but the number of people that your church attracts each week. Some churches crave big numbers as if they are a fledgling business. “Invite your friends!” “We’re considering the exciting possiblities for this year.” “We prayed that He would save 700 people. He did…Plus an additional 40! Totaling 740 lives changed for eternity.” “We are praying and fasting for the same multiplication in seeing about 7000 people here this Sunday!” “God provided attendance exceedingly abundantly above our wildest dreams this Easter.” (Whose wildest dreams? Oh, your wildest dreams, charismatic pastor man.)

Jesus never said anything about how many people you should cram into your church building. Jesus didn’t tell us to set attendance goals. Jesus didn’t tell us to pray that a church
(small c) will grow so big that it runs out of folding chairs and has to build a separate campus. However many people come to your church, fill out their attendance cards, and/or come forward at the altar call is completely, completely irrelevant to actual change in their lives and whether or not they actually experienced the person of Christ. Could the tiny church in a small town comprised mostly of elderly people be doing more to further God’s kingdom in the ways they love their families and neighbors, than is the warehouse church with jumbotrons and a parking team? Could the megachurch’s biggest impact be the way it strokes the egos of its pastors? Corporate America ties its identity to the number of clients it recruits. This is easy for church leadership to do as well.

Case in point from the Acts 29 church planting site:

If your value is in between 80 and 100, your church is making a spiritual impact, is growing rapidly and people are being ministered to in effective ways. Take leaps of faith regularly to stretch the body to its full potential . . . If your value is in between 20 and 39, your church is going to either close its doors or fight for survival. A Spirit-led vision to compassionately reach the lost for Christ needs to explode within the leadership and contagiously spread throughout the whole body.

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