Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why i don't fear numbers

A question that arises whenever you bump into another youth minister is the query "So... How many do you get on a Friday night?"

Sure, there are other (much better) markers of success, but, this is the checkpoint that can make you puff out your chest or quietly whimper in the corner.

For me, numbers aren't scary.

No, it is not because I'm the youth minister of a church with a mega youth group or converting more people than the Apostle Paul on a good day.

Simply, numbers matter.

I crunched last terms numbers for our youth ministry and i used my usual numbers maker. 50/80/80 (I thought i blogged on this, but i can't track it down).

50% growth (although this would be viewed more annually), 80% attendance (kids are there the majority of weeks) and 80% retention (a kid who is new will stick around).

All in all, this term was was better than last. Our average number of kids rose by almost a quarter, from the 18 new kids we had 5 return (which sends a message about our welcoming... this terms task) and the number of kids who were there most weeks doubled.

Unsurprisingly, numbers are track-able. They will be an indicator if you are staying on task. You can spot trends and adapt to the stats (like the welcoming example above).

Numbers may also indicate the health of the group. Healthy things grow. That's how they work. They may grow in depth of understanding, service, commitment, love but also in sheer number.

Finally, and most importantly, numbers represent people. People matter greatly to God, so they should matter to us.

If God took time out to number His people, why should we shy away from it?

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