The Numbers Game

Image source – http://tinyurl.com/6xza7uv

Like most pastors I had very big dreams when I started at my church.  Sure, there were only about 12 regular attendees, but that would all change very quickly.  The Holy Spirit would show up and people would be coming in droves!  We’d have to have multiple services, a new building and a large staff.  Of course, reality was much different!  About midway through the first year our average attendance had grown to about 30 people, which was a far cry from the grandiose dreams I originally had.  I remember mentioning my disappointment about attendance to one of my denominational leaders, and his response really made me stop and think.  He asked me “How many people live in your town?”  I told him that the last census put us at around 230.  He said “I would do almost anything to have that percentage of my town!” (He pastors a church in a large town with a  population of  about 30,000)

The more I thought about it the more he was right.  Statistically speaking I had a little better than 10% of my town coming to church (okay, not everyone who comes is from my town, but you know what I’m getting at).  This means that most of us in rural ministry have far better numbers than the mega churches that get all the attention.  Of course, this is no reason to brag or to “think more highly of ourselves than we ought” (Romans 12:3).

I am not trying to belittle anything that any metropolitan church is accomplishing.  The point I’m trying to bring across is that just because our numbers are smaller doesn’t mean we are not doing as good of a job.  I believe that some of the most effective pastors in the world are found in rural areas.  We might not get the attention or prestige that urban pastors get, but that doesn’t mean we are inferior.  We are reaching large percentages of our communities for Christ, and for that we can hold our heads up high knowing that we are doing our part in fulfilling the great commission.

Have you ever felt inferior or second class because you minister in a rural area?  What made you feel that way?  Leave a comment below.

Announcement: I will be making some changes to the posting schedule of the Rural Ministry Blog.  Up to this point I have posted a general blog post on either Tuesday or Wednesday with the Freebie Friday post on Friday.  Starting next week I will be adding a resource post on Monday, moving the general post to Wednesday, and keeping Freebie Friday as is. The resource post on Monday will contain links to blog posts, articles, and video clips that I believe will be of interest to the Rural Ministry Blog community.  As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions please feel free to contact me using the contact info link in the sidebar.  Blessings! – Harry Colegrove

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Explore posts in the same categories: Attendance, Discouragement, Rural

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