We’re All About the Numbers

I’ve been sharing some of the top viewed posts on my blog, and today’s seems especially appropriate as we head into the Christmas season. At our church, we’re expecting thousands of people to make professions of faith in Christ this week in our worship experiences.

And I will unapologetically publicly celebrate each and every one. Here’s why:

I get asked all the time if Elevation is all about the numbers.
Let me just clarify something:

Our church is all about the numbers.

  • The number of lives that Jesus can permeate and penetrate with the gospel.
  • The number of marriages that can be restored.
  • The number of teenagers following the Lord.
  • The number of depressed people that can find hope in Jesus.
  • The number of dads who don’t give their kids any attention who will learn to order their lives by the Word of God and start prioritizing their families.

What else matters? What else should we be about?

This might come as a shock to a lot of people, but measuring numbers and putting an emphasis on them isn’t a new phenomenon. 2000 years ago, Luke by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote:
41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day…47 And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:41, 47

Apparently God is all about the numbers. So I want to be, too. And so should you.

It’s unacceptable to me as a pastor that we would stop growing when the Lord wants to add to our number daily those who are being saved. And in order for that to happen, we need to track every scrap of statistical data at our disposal. We’ve got to make sure we’re measuring ministry numbers to measure our effectiveness and enlarge the Kingdom of God. I don’t want to waste a single dollar or second on a program, piece of equipment, or ministry position that isn’t the best option for reaching the most people.

You might be averse to numbers for a number of reasons.

Maybe you don’t like the idea of big crowds. If that’s the case, you wouldn’t have liked the New Testament Church. And you really won’t like heaven.

Maybe you think it steals away from discipleship. It’s possible. But it’s just as possible for that to happen in a church of 10 people as it is in a church of 10,000.

Whatever your reason is, remember: every number is indicative of a story.
Personally, I don’t want to put a cap on the number of stories God wants to redeem. Especially when I read this:
9 I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God.”
Revelation 7:9-10

Now that’s a number worth shooting for. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait until I die to see this. I want to see this partially fulfilled in my lifetime. More people worshipping Jesus than I can count.

I want to see a little heaven on earth through Elevation Church. Through every church. I think it’s what God wants too.

And that’s why we’re all about the numbers.


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Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

jim mcfarland — 12/11/12 10:45 pm

sounds like the ying and yang or spirt and truth dycotomy. tough balance let alone appreciation for both

Mr. Tony Bowick — 12/11/12 1:09 pm

I love the thoughtful and strategic emphasis on having unapologetic measures of what success looks like for God's church. Our awareness must be both qualitative and quantitative. Narrative and numerical.

Recent Comments
I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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