I have always heard that it is not about quantity; it is about quality. Steve Adams writes, "Remember, it's not about the size of your ministry, it's about the health of your ministry" (157). Whenever church leaders meet for whatever reasons, the topic seems to inevitably turn to numbers. How many do you run on Sunday mornings? New members? Baptisms? Converts? It is like the souls of people have been reduced to bragging rights instead of using our "head counts" for useful things like how many chairs to have out or how many bulletins to print. It's like we are counting cattle. That reminds me of my time in South Dakota.
I met several ranchers when I moved to Rapid City, and I became great friends with a couple. I visited my friend one day to learn to ride a horse, and I asked what I considered to be an innocent question. How many cows do you have? She "schooled" me that day, explaining that it is not proper to ask a rancher how many cattle he/she has because that is like asking him/her how much money he/she has. Which is kind of like asking a pastor about Sunday attendance…
We count how many people come for D@D's so that we know how many people we are feeding and how many people we should cook for. We count how many attend the worship service, so we know when we are growing. I think the next time someone asks how many we are running at our worship services, I am going to reply in percentages. This time last year, there were 2 of us. I'm going to answer that we are up 750%!
Adams, Steve. Children's Ministry on Purpose: A Purpose Driven Approach to Lead Kids toward Spiritual Health. Zondervan, 2017.