by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 11/27/15.
In leadership courses we must look at the important (but often disregarded) strategic tool of quantitative analysis. Yes, that means numbers. Now I know you have heard that numbers aren’t what discipleship should be about, and that is right. Numerical growth (according to Acts 2:42ff) is just one of four elements of biblical church growth. According to Acts 2:42 there are four arenas of church growth (growth in maturity, growth in favor, growth in unity, and growth in numbers … which, by the way, Luke reminds us that it is God who provides the latter).
A Leadership Exercise.
But church leaders often shy away from numbers except when absolutely necessary. And that is unfortunate because numbers are used in the Scriptures to demonstrate God’s move.
To uncover this, undertake this short leadership exercise. First, share with other leaders some of the insights that knowing the numbers might give you about your ministry. Each leader should give two insights (with one paragraph each, for a total of 2 paragraphs) about how knowing the quantitative growth of a ministry can help lead that organization, be it a church, para-church ministry or non-profit. But, don’t just be brusque in your reply. Go into a bit of detail, and tell how knowing the numbers can (and potentially will) help you chart the strategic future of God’s mission. Use a few scriptures to support your ideas.
Then secondly, share in one paragraph why you think leaders don’t want to know the numbers. Give some responses that you have heard, and then give me your replies. Again, a paragraph is sufficient.
Share your results with other leaders and comment upon their responses.
That’s it. Just three (3) paragraphs for this leadership exercise. But, the insights on why we should (and why we don’t) know the numbers can be insightful.