Christ died for everyone. Numbers of disciples, numbers in church, represent human lives. Acts records numbers of new believers and the Old Testament carefully records lists of people and numbers of people who belonged to the family of God.
Noticing who belongs and who doesn’t, who joins and who leaves helps us to think about where to put our time, energy and money. It helps us to think about how we can best help people along their journey of faith and how we can prioritise the resources that we put into facilitating that journey.
Basic data collection
Deciding that numerical growth and working towards it is an important first step. The simplest approach is to keep lists of people regularly attending church events and/or count them much as you would for Sunday services.
Simple lists of who belongs to the church including former members and those who have regular contact with it can be kept under GDPR rules without requiring consent.
A simple spreadsheet can be used for this purpose. This will also help with filling in the annual national data for mission returns.
Using Numerical Data
Coming to faith in Christ and then deepening in discipleship is a journey. By thinking about the broad steps on that journey we can prioritise resources and activities. If we consider four very broad steps that people might take, they might be Relational Fringe, Worshipping Community, Engaged Disciples and Leadership. By knowing how many people are in each of these categories we can see where are resources are best needed.
As stated above, the journey to faith and discipleship takes several steps. By thinking about how we provide these steps we can provide activities and opportunities that will help people come to know Christ and deepen their faith in Him.