People Count

One of the favorite things that people like to say to church planters is, “don’t worry about numbers, just be faithful.” And one of the things that church planters like to say is “I don’t care about the numbers, I just want to be faithful.” I have planted a church from scratch and I can tell you that they are probably lying. :>)
Numbers tell us a lot. In Acts 2 after the Holy Spirit had descended on the early Christians and gave them the power that God had promised, Peter very courageously preached about the risen, living Christ and we are told “those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” How did they know there were three thousand? Where did that number come from? SOMEONE COUNTED THEM.
You count people because PEOPLE COUNT. We have done that from the very inception of Jordan Presbyterian Church. (We are actually required to report those numbers to the denomination) It is interesting. Counting doesn’t mean “all you’re interested in is numbers.” Counting is one way of evaluating the effectiveness of ministry and one thing to consider when looking at a church’s efforts and resources to see if they are well spent. But numbers aren’t, nor should they be, the driving force of ministry. The gospel is the driving force. Numbers are just one thing to consider.
For the past four years we have had basically the same average attendance in church. That’s not to say we haven’t grown. We actually have. What I mean specifically is that while we have had many people move away our numbers haven’t really decreased. For example a small but significant deaf congregation used to attend here and they left, but our numbers stayed the same. For a period a number of the folks at Gospel Presbyterian worshipped with us. When they left our numbers didn’t really decrease. Two years ago we had nine High School Seniors graduate and they have largely scattered but our numbers are about the same. What this means is that more and more people are coming and finding a loving, Christ-centered fellowship of believers here.
We have something wonderful to offer. We have Jesus. I want to personally encourage you to invite and encourage people that you know who do not already attend a Biblical church to come and find what you have found here. Jesus did not reveal Himself to you so that you could keep it secret. His whole purpose for saving sinners is so that God will get glory. So give it to Him. Tell people how great He is and tell them where you are learning about Him. One place should be your church.
There are a number of opportunities to invite people to this summer. VBS, a church dinner, a women’s dinner, an ice-cream social, just to name a few. Don’t evaluate these things based on whether you like chicken or ice cream or women’s events. Rather think, “Do I know someone who might enjoy this?” We do these in part to give you opportunity to invite people. Not to mention we have weekly worship and Sunday School. So I encourage you just like always, if you’re in town and not sick come to church. That’s what Christian’s do. And bring someone with you. We’ll count them because each one of them counts. Your circle of people matter to God.
Serving with you,

NewsletterTim Barton