John Markum

We’re All About the Numbers

If you are a “church” person or church leader, you’ve likely already formed an opinion regarding the title of this post. You may have thought of  contemporary “growth strategies” for how to more effectively fill seats on weekend services. Or perhaps you made a judgment that churches who are “all about the numbers” are weak doctrinally, and weaker still in their discipleship, teaching, and preaching. Allow me five minutes to explain why my church is crazy about the numbers.

First of all, you should acknowledge that “big” churches are not intrinsically bad…

  • Jesus had upwards of 20,000+ people following His ministry at various points.
  • 3,000 came to Christ in one “service” on the day of Pentecost.
  • 5,000+ were in the church of Jerusalem within a few short months.
  • The church of Ephesus mentioned in Acts 19 likely consisted of several thousand people.

The fact that numbers are used to give us a picture of the metric growth of the church as it spread should be an indication. Now, there is such thing as an inappropriate view of the numbers. True, a church growing in number is not necessarily healthy. But it is also true that a healthy church should grow. Growth is a result of health. Not the other way around.

I’m all about the numbers because each number represents a real person. A life. Someone that Jesus died to save. The numbers of people coming to my church, are real people with real needs, searching for real answers that are available by a real God. The numbers are not simply measurements and benchmarks that we give high-fives over.

The numbers tell stories of people who were far from God that were awakened with life in Christ. They tell of the couple that was on the edge of divorce who found grace, forgiveness, and forbearance through the love of Christ. The numbers tell me about the woman who walked in feeling too broken to come to God but decided to try anyway, and gave her life to Jesus and found freedom and hope. The numbers tell me of a couple about to call it quits after living together for a year, who are now married, happy, healthy, and passionate about the lives being changed at our church and the change that Jesus made in them.

The numbers speak! It’s not just 1, 2, 3, 4… It’s Tyler, Marcus, Randy, Brian, Josie, Tiffany, Karla, Jason, Sarah, Andrew, Todd… It’s not about me, or an ego boost, or a fist-bump after the service. The numbers are an objective non-biased worship to the God who is redeeming people in our community. Someone once made the comment that they don’t count people in the services of their church because “it’s not about the numbers anyway.” They were asked if their church counted the offering, which was an awkward but obvious, “yes.” The other person simply pointed out that you count what matters to you!

We count people, because people count to us. So am I focused on the numbers? You better believe it. We love people. And we love the change that the Gospel brings to their life. We want to see more lives changed by the Gospel. And we’re going to continue to do everything we can to reach them. We’ll stop at nothing  because they matter to God and they matter to us… count on it.



It’s Time!

I’ve talked a lot lately about a momentum I feel here at Edgewood. As we experience God’s hand of favor we have seen more and more people getting connected to our church family, more individuals giving their lives to Christ in faith, going public with their faith through baptism, inviting friends to church with them, watching their friend’s life get changed by the Gospel, plugging into a ministry and serving, and on we could go. Regardless of how you slice it, there is something powerful taking place in our church!

Some critic out there is thinking, “It’s not all about the numbers, you know!” And they would be right (kinda). So why do we make such a big deal about the numbers? Why do we geek out over 1,880 people coming to our Easter weekend services, and a baptism rate that is on pace for 100+ new baptisms in 2011? Because they are not just numbers. Each number represents a life that is being changed. A marriage being restored. A teenager coming back home. A person far from God being awakened with life in Christ. A casual attender becoming a committed member. A shy, insecure woman boldly proclaiming to the world her faith in Jesus through baptism. And when we look at those statistics, make no mistake: we are all about the numbers!

And it’s when I look at the way God has been blessing us and moving in our people, that I’m overwhelmed with the thought that this is just the beginning. It is time for each of us to get serious about the calling that God has placed on our lives and on our church. This is not the time for the church to grow complacent about the impact God is bringing us. This is not the time to back down. We can not take this for granted! Instead, this is the time for each of us to rise into the holy anointing God has for all of His people, and for this church specifically.

  • If you are a committed member, stay faithful! Your commitment to the ministry of this church is producing a great impact for the Kingdom of God. Thank you for your faithfulness!
  • If you have been observing Edgewood from the sidelines, it’s time to get in the game! You were created to have a part in this move of God. Join us in turning the QC upside down with the Gospel!
  • If you have never shared what God is doing here with anyone else, step out of your comfort zone and invite someone to see it for themselves. We have 4 services every weekend, so there’s room for everyone!
  • If you are far from God, out of church, or burnt-out on church, I’m not saying we’re perfect, or even that we are the only thing God is doing in our city. What I am saying, is that God is doing some amazing things here and you have GOT to see this for yourself! We happen to be a little excited about it…



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