Monday, November 8, 2010


The number 100. It's a good number. A nice, round number. It's the first number that is three digits instead of two. And up until recently it was a number we had never reached at STORYCHURCH. That is, until yesterday. Yesterday, on my birthday, we had 101 in attendance!! It was exciting, not just for me, but I think for most of the people in the church who have been with us for a while. It's feeling fuller all the time and it's fun to be part of something that is growing and picking up momentum. And I think God calls us to celebrate. We SHOULD stop and take notice and party and rejoice over cool moments like this one. I was personally on cloud nine all day yesterday and woke up today feeling about as good as any Monday morning I can remember.

Numbers are important. They tell a story - not THE story, but a story. The reason we celebrate milestones like that is because every one of those 101 people is a life that is being touched and changed as they interact with and approach Jesus. And as cool as 101 is, we keep pushing and praying for more. The reason? Again, because we want to see as many lives as possible transformed by the good news of Jesus.

But there are some dangers with numbers as well. So as we celebrate, here are a few things I caution myself and you with today:

  • The DANGER OF ACCOMPLISHMENT - There is a danger with every milestone to pat ourselves on the back and say "Look at what we accomplished." I never want to be in the place where I think that any of this had anything to do with me. God chose to speak through donkeys before. The fact that He would use us is pretty awesome, but make no mistake - God is the one moving and changing people's lives, not me and not Story Church.
  • The DANGER OF LEGITIMACY. I don't know what else to call it. There's a real sense in which a certain number carries with it a level of legitimacy. Like, we're for real now because we had 100 people. I never want to lose the awe over the fact that ANYONE shows up! It is a miracle to me, and what God is doing in the life of 1 is just as important as a crowd.
  • The DANGER OF DECEPTION. When our numbers are down, I often feel like we failed. When they are up I feel like we are the best church in the world. I make the mistake sometimes of assuming God is at work when lots of people show up, but that he isn't when they don't. It's a lie. The reality is that I often hear the greatest stories of life change on days when we have some of our smallest attendance numbers.
  • The DANGER OF COMPARISON. It's real easy to start comparing ourselves to other churches, other ministries. I sometimes find myself comparing myself as a church planter to other guys doing the same thing. God hasn't asked us to plant their church, He's asked us to be faithful with ours. No matter what God is doing somewhere else, we must be faithful to do what he calls us to do.
  • The DANGER OF RESTING. Last I checked, there are still hundreds of thousands of lost people in the Triangle. Celebrating 100 is fine, but this is no time to rest. We aren't even beginning to scratch the surface of what God can do in us. People need Jesus and they are lost without Him! That truth has to continue to drive us to help people embrace the story they were meant to live.
To my friends at STORYCHURCH, my fellow story tellers - we are just getting started. As we celebrate this week the things God HAS done, don't lose sight of what He still WILL do. Pray for continual impact, for opportunities to share, and that we will hear more and more stories of God changing lives in our midst in the days ahead. I'm so blessed to be on this journey with you guys!


This was really great to read!

I've been experiencing a lot of things on my trip in relation to numbers and how God works. It's been interesting for me to process a lot of things you pointed out as being dangers, and also what you pointed out as God's truth in dealing with numbers.

I've learned a heck of a lot about who God is, what the church is/should be/can be from my time here and when (I say when.) I come visit this summer I'll have to tell you all about it.

Well said birthday boy. I especially appreciated the balancing perspective that comes with honestly considering the dangers.

Stefanie - looking forward to seeing you and hearing all about it.

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