Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Good Article On How The Danger Our Number-Oriented Society Is Influencing The Church

Below is an excerpt from the Christianity Today's article "Battling Numbers - Getting past the need to see ever-increasing numbers" by Christine Litavsky:

I'm not alone in my fixation with numbers. In today's more-is-better America, we're usually seeking loftier numbers. We want numerous bedrooms in our homes, several cars in our garages, and higher balances in our bank accounts. We want dozens of choices in our grocery stores, increased children's programs at our churches, and more time in each day.

Numbers Epidemic

This fixation with higher numbers has also permeated many evangelical churches. We need only to look at the explosion of megachurches to see this. Christians and non-Christians alike consider these churches extremely successful. They grab the attention of the mainstream media as well as Christian publications. Some of their pastors become bestselling authors, even moderating presidential debates. Megachurches are unique from one another, but they have one similarity—they boast very large numbers.

I am not against large churches—in fact, numbers are sometimes a great indicator that something is working well. But my anxiety about the dwindling numbers in my Bible study has caused me pause. I believe many of us are, as Christians, bowing down to numbers. We actually begin to follow them, worshiping them when they're high and cowering before them when they're low. What a mistake.

Unfortunately, it's one that's easy to slip into. We are a numbers-oriented society; trained to seek and expect high numbers, and to equate them with success.

But what kind of success? Worldly, certainly. But what does the Bible say about the success of large numbers? God certainly does not play the more-is-better game. The story of Noah indicates that God would rather have true belief than large numbers. Out all the people who lived during Noah's time, only eight were saved from the flood due to their righteousness (Gen. 7:1). It was from these few that God built his kingdom. In fact, time after time Scripture tells us of faithful remnants of God's people who make an impact for his kingdom despite their low numbers.....

.......We need to remember the numbers God is interested in are not our sales numbers, or our stock portfolio, or the number of people in our Bible studies or churches. What God cares about is the number of people who truly know him through belief in Jesus Christ.

I believe this lesson is the most important thing I've learned from my Bible study yet. God has used decreased attendance to regain my attention, helping me focus on him, not numbers, for answers and guidance.

Numbers don't matter. Our relationship with Christ does........

Click here to read the complete article.

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