The numbers game is something that we play a lot in the church. We want to know how many baptisms and members and monies and ministries were at play in a given year. We want to see upward trending statistics. We believe success lies in digits… which supposedly translate into actual lives being transformed… although I am not always convinced that it is the case.
I resist the numbers game. I don’t let low numbers phase me if actual good solid God work is happening. Our weekly communion service at the church averages about 7… it is faithful, transformative, worship… and if one week we have only three people there, it doesn’t upset me. God is going to work through the conversation and interaction those three people have. God is being worshipped in our music whether there are a few or a few hundred.
At the same time, when the numbers disappoint us and the people don’t show up, sometimes your will to keep going starts to waver a bit.
To have more pastors than students was a little frustrating. To say we were disappointed is an understatement.
What do you do with those numbers that are so low?
Do you focus your attention on the people that were touched? Yes.
Do you fret about what you cannot change? Of course not.
But what is the next step? Do you redouble your efforts for the future? Ignore the numbers and keep forging ahead as usual? Consider it an anomaly in the statistics? Decide not to do it again? Cancel it for now until another class, another set of parents, another group of people steps up and tells you it is important?
That is what I don’t know.
It would be a shame to lose this opportunity for community worship and celebration. It would also be a shame to not mark this moment in our students lives for those who find faith important in their journey.
But if there is not energy and passion behind something, isn’t it okay to let it go for a time?
We’ll see what happens as our community ministerial alliance gets together for future conversations… but at this time, I’m not sure what I would recommend. All I know is that I’m a little disappointed.