Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Numbers Aren't Everything

For as mathematically declined as I am, it's surprising that when it comes to Children's Ministries, I love numbers. Every Monday I take the numbers from Sunday's attendance and input them in an Excel document to chart our growth/loss and track what times of year are busy/slow. I have three years worth of Sundays recorded for each department (nursery, preschool, elementary, etc.). I love comparing the numbers! The problem happens when I start to judge the success of an event by the numbers. The perfect example of this happened Friday night.
A year ago we started doing a family service six times a year called FX (Family Experience). I'd LOVE to see it become a must-schedule for all the families of Morning Star. Last year our highest attended FX was in January with 95 people. It was amazing because it was only our second FX, and had doubled the first one's attendance. Friday we had our first FX of the year and 40 people attended. It was the most enthusiastic crowd we've had yet. They kids participated passionately, the parents joined me enthusiastically with motions for worship. Each family acknowledged to how much they love coming to FX. And if you were to ask me what kind of families need FX the most, three of the perfect candidates were there. Sounds like a success, doesn't it?
Then why do I look at the number 40 as a flop? Why do I keep measuring the success in numbers rather than family growth? When I start looking at the number, I don't think about the family that desperately needed encouragement and felt called to come join us for pizza and a program. When I start looking at the number, I don't recognize the father who doesn't join his family on Sunday but came for FX. When I start looking at the number, I don't remember the sweetness of two little boys making an invitation to give their father for the next FX. When I start looking at the number, I forget about the family that supports me and encourages me through everything I do. And, when I focus on the number 40, I loose sight of the fact that that 40 was more enthusiastic than our crowd of 95 ever was.
While numbers can make a good gauge for tracking what works and what doesn't, and they help watch for patterns, the true evaluation should come from the stories seen and heard as a result of our efforts. And if I'm evaluating off of those stories--FX was a HUGE success.

1 comment:

Carla said...

This is great info to know.

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