statistically speaking

I freely admit that I am a little bit obsessed by the stat counter on my blog. I noticed a couple of days ago that it ticked over 10000 (thank you if it was you who made it tick over). I love it when my blog gets mentioned by other blogs and I get 100s of hits in a day. I have checked my ex-blog (hosted by Blogspot and still there but not updated) and that has now had over 17000 visits. I am astonished that over 27000 hits have landed on my little blog.

Of course I recognise that many of them will have been people who were looking for something else and landed here by accident, but it seems that some of you keep coming back. Thanks for the encouragement!

I reckon churches can get a bit obsessed by stats too. How many people were at a particular meeting? How many members do we have? How many ministers? How many children? The ‘bums on pews’ measure is pants because as we count we make judgements about the responses that generally equate with whether or not we think we have been successful.

Jesus had a core team of 12 in whom he invested his time, energy, teaching and life. One of those 12 (8.3% of the total team) quit and was responsible for his death. The only other numbers that seem to be counted in the gospels are not about success: we know the number of people fed at impromptu picnics (4,000 and 5,000); the number of fish caught at an early morning fishing expedition (153); the number of lepers whom he had healed who came back to say thank you (1 out of 10); and so on. There’s no success attached to these numbers, especially when you consider he died with just a few of his followers watching from a distance.

What did Jesus consider success? Lives changed, dignity restored, hungry fed, love in action, hypocrisy challenged, people healed, good news preached, kingdom explained, stories told, prayers prayed, corruption challenged, death defeated.

So, I will try not to get too excited as the stat counter ticks over. But I will get excited about seeing the same things happen in and through churches all across the world. I will get very excited about seeing it happen in Colchester.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

7 thoughts on “statistically speaking”

  1. What’s weird is that you try to blog about something of importance and nobody’s interested…then you put up something really trivial and you get a ton of views?

  2. “The ‘bums on pews’ measure is pants because as we count we make judgements about the responses that generally equate with whether or not we think we have been successful.” The point is that every ‘bum’ is a person who should be in the process of having the kingdom explained, a life changed, dignity restored etc. Every extra person is one more opportunity for the love of God to be brought into a troubled or dark situation.

    I worry that that those who dismiss statistics use it as an excuse to hid behind the reality of not being effective in meeting the needs of those who need God in their lives.

    1. I agree John. I am not discounting the value of statistics. In my last post I referred to them constantly and they are a useful way of observing trends and discerning responses. Indeed I have just received some statistics that I believe will be helpful and illuminating in my own research. And heaven preserve us from being ineffective! My point is aimed at those who count attendance as the only measure of success.

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