3 Reasons to Celebrate Numerical Growth

Is growing numerically a bad thing?

Even after the Pandemic, one of the first questions we ask someone about their church, especially other staff members, is some variation of the question “how many are you coming?”

  • “What percentage of folks are back after COVID?”

  • “Are you growing?”

  • “How many are in your first service compared to your second?”

In this brief article, I’m going to argue out of both sides of my mouth. I want to give us four reasons why we should celebrate numerical growth, but also want to stress that it should not consume our thinking and be the only thing we should measure.

Let’s start with why we should celebrate numerical growth.


1: Because Every Number has a Name. Every Name has a Story. Every Story Matters to God.

  • This was a line from when I was on staff at Newspring Church. Though churches can struggle with focusing on numbers too much, I still believe this to be true.

  • Every person who accepts Jesus and is growing deeper in their faith with Him has an incredible story to tell. And that story matters to God and is powerful to share with your church body.

2: Because the Early Church did.

  • The earliest churches in the Bible recorded numbers. I believe they recorded numbers as a testament to the work of God – watching in amazement at what He was doing.

  • “Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.” Acts 2:41

  • “…praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:47


3: It creates excitement and buzz.

  • Celebrating numbers can stir excitement in us. We rejoice! It jazzes us to see people show up and be changed. We can easily let numbers go to our heads thinking it is our work that did something – when we know in our hearts, its God doing the work.

  • That said, when people show up, it creates momentum and a buzz.

  • An example of this would be the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Massive numbers of hippies started showing up – being baptized in mass at Pirate’s Cove and Corona Del Mar State Beach. This movement created incredible excitement and so much buzz that it landed on the cover of TIME Magazine.

Though these are credible reasons to celebrate numbers, we need to remember that numbers should not be the only thing we should measure. And we should not compare our church’s spiritual health with that of another church simply because of numbers.

It can be easy to think “we’re doing better than X church because more people are showing up”.

This is not always true. There have been many stories in recent years showing us that the MegaChurch model has its flaws and can crumble.

It could be wise to not just measure numbers, but measure other fruit we see in our congregations.

From a distance, we might be able to see a tree incredibly full of fruit hanging off of every branch. But as you get closer, it might be that some of the fruit on that tree is rotten.

I would much rather have a tree that is rooted, grounded firmly, and bears incredible fruit, even if there is less fruit on the tree, than pull from a tree where there may be lots of rotten fruit.

Let’s celebrate numbers. Let’s celebrate miracles and things only God can do with numbers.

Let’s also make sure we are focused on what God is doing inside of people.