There’s a mini war with numbers in the church right now. Some pastors and churches believe numbers are the great all in all and purpose of the church; the more, the merrier; do whatever you can to bring people in the door; give away a car, pay Taylor Swift to do a few songs before, whatever it takes. While other pastors and churches would say God doesn’t care about numbers at all; if we emphasize numbers we will stray away from God’s true purpose of the church, hinting toward an applied theology where you don’t think that God wants more people saved, discipled and growing in their faith; almost like that’s a bad thing or something.
I bring all of this up to share that I’m a bit in the middle of this debate. God does care about numbers because He has a heart that wants more people saved and discipled, and I do believe we should make any and every effort short of sin in reaching people, but we also know that God does the growth and we’re accountable to be faithful to that task, not having to be cheesy, stupid or sinful in efforts to reach and grow people. We do have to make sure those motives with numbers align with God’s purpose and motives, though. This is especially evident in today’s Jumpstart passage. Who would’ve ever thought one would be in sin for getting an accurate count on God’s people. If anything, it seems wise to keep track of growth and make sure people aren’t falling by the wayside. But here we see that it’s not only sin, but there were consequences involving a plague for David doing it. Why? Because it was not what God asked but instead that Satan influenced. Most commentaries mention how this probably fed into David’s pride and sinful military ambitions. The ESV Study Bible also points out how David neglected to levy the poll tax for a census which, according to Exodus 30:12, was an act of disobedience toward God.
So let’s make sure that we don’t lose God’s heart to reach more people with the Gospel and to help more people grow in the Gospel, but with the right heart and right motives. We may want to be the biggest church in Lexington for all the right reasons but God just expects us to be faithful with what we have and He is sovereign over the growth. Let’s reach more people in humility and for God’s glory. And let’s make sure it’s not for Satan’s motives like we see today.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor