Guest Blogger: Clayton King


Do Numbers Matter? Part 2

See part 1 to catch up.

Do Numbers Matter?…continued…

So when I often hear people, especially Christians, comment on how we should not get “hung up” on numbers, I think I understand what they mean. They probably mean that we should not make numbers the measure of success or the means to happiness or that people should never be lost in a spread sheet or an attendance report sent into a denominational office. And yes, anyone can make the numbers talk a certain way or sing a certain tune by embellishing or stretching them to accomplish a selfish goal or to push a self-serving agenda.

Yet I sometimes feel a bit awkward when I return from a church or a conference where many people have made decisions to repent of their sins and confess their faith in Christ, not because I doubt their sincerity, but because I know the skepticism by which many Christians view “the numbers.” Figures have been so abused by so many that even I am reluctant to believe some of the reports I hear about the unexplainable growth of the church in China or the numbers of people converting to Christianity right now in Africa. Occasionally I will comment on how many people made a decision to be saved at an event, and I see smirks, sideways glances, or even chuckles. Maybe the reason it is so hard for some Christians to believe that God is really active in our world and that people are still being saved by His grace is that we are embedded in a culture obsessed with figures, dollars, and impressive statistics. We don’t trust them anymore. We are not impressed by them.

God is not impressed by them either, but the numbers do matter, because the numbers are a shadowy representation of people; people that God loves and people that Christ died to save.

Consider for just a moment some of the numbers that should matter to all of us.

Over 5 million Jews were murdered under Hitler’s Germany. Do they matter?

At least 200,000 people have been killed and another 500,000 have been displaced in Darfur, Sudan by the Janjaweed militia and a corrupt government run by religious extremists. Do they matter?

In the next 24 hours, over 30,000 human beings on this earth will die because they did not have sufficient food to eat or clean water to drink. Do they matter?

A little girl in the slums of Detroit will watch her mama shoot heroin today that she bought with her daughter’s lunch money. Does she matter?

A 15 year old girl will walk into a doctors office scared to death and broke, wondering if she will be able to care for the baby growing in her womb. Does she matter? Does the baby?

Often times, the same people who say the numbers don’t mean anything when it comes to evangelism and missions are the same people who are quick to throw out the numbers of soldiers killed in battle, the number of children with AIDS in Uganda, or the number of families living in poverty.

Here is my point…THEY ALL MATTER. ALL OF THEM.

There are nearly 2 billion people on this planet who have never heard the gospel, and they matter.

Since June (06’), our ministry has seen God save over 2,500 people, and they matter.

A church in SC pastored by a close friend just baptized over 400 new Christians and every last one of them matters.

Over the lat 9 years, students at Crossroads camps have given over $300,000 to orphans in India, and every dollar given matters.

And every single person that sits in that pew at your little country church on Sundays matters, all 80 of them. And every single person that sits in those plush theatre seats at your mega-church on Sunday matters, all 8,000 of them.

Please, let’s stop saying that the numbers don’t matter. People that are made in the image of God, loved by Christ, and set free from sin and bondage by the Cross were so important to God that He took drastic measures to insure their salvation. If they matter to Him, they should mean something to us, too.

So on my 34th birthday, does that number mean anything to me? Sure it does. My car insurance will likely go down. My health insurance will likely go up. My knees and shoulders hurt more frequently and a cheeseburger stays with me alot longer than it used to. But what really matters is not the number, but the lovely bride that sits in the next room and those two precious boys upstairs taking their afternoon naps as I type. Thanks be to our Almighty God for giving us the ability to live for the things that matter eternally.

For Christ,

Clayton King