numbers matter

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There seems to be a common misconception that numbers in the Church world don’t matter to God. I know in general what people mean by this... they mean that our focus should not be on how big our churches are, but rather that we should focus on caring for people, making disciples, teaching sound doctrine, and proclaiming the Gospel. In general, I would agree, but I’ve also seen many people use this statement as an excuse for not doing evangelism. The statement “numbers don’t matter” sounds very spiritual. The only problem with it is, the New Testament.As you read through the ministry of Jesus, numbers are specifically mentioned on multiple occasions; massive numbers. The reason numbers matter is because numbers represent people. When you look at it that way, numbers matter to God because people matter to God.

"Numbers matter to God because people matter to God."

As you open the book of Acts you see that Acts 1:15 specifically mentions that there were 120 people in the church at the time of Pentecost. And then, after the coming of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:41 “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:47 tells us that, “The Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 4:4, “Many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.” Acts 5:14, “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women”. Acts 6:7, “The word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem”. Acts 9:31, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” Acts 11:21/24, “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord… And a great many people were added to the Lord.” I think you get the picture. I could probably add another dozen passages in the book of Acts that tell us explicitly that numbers matter. Having said that I don’t think we should equate spiritual health with numbers and I don’t think we should get our identity from the sizes of our churches. However, as I read the book of Acts, I see the constant pattern of Gospel proclamation and then Gospel advancement.

I am aware there are men in the Bible, like Isaiah and Jeremiah, who were called to what we might call “fruitless ministry”. Then, there are men who at the last day, who will be applauded for leading 10 people to Jesus in a difficult place, over those who led 10,000. For instance, Isaiah and Jeremiah remained “fruitless” as they preached the message to the unbelieving, in Israel, often doing so with tears. These men, show how the missionary whom is unfruitful can still labor in hope for the lost, even in the hardest of places.  There are multitudes of lost people all around us, and because of that, numbers matter. Let’s not keep making the Biblical understatement that “numbers don’t matter.” We see in the book of Revelation, there is a multitude of saints from every tribe and tongue who will worship the Lamb in Heaven, and on that day I guarantee you that those numbers will matter.