The other day this article made the rounds on Facebook. It raises some interesting questions about our approach to church budgets. Now I’ve never been part of a church that looks for “pledges” to help set the budget for the year, but I can see the value in them. And asking for it before the budget, it even makes some sense.

However, the article also brings up an issue for me. We place so much focus on the “numbers.” The numbers in the budget, the numbers in the pews, the numbers in the offering plate, numbers, numbers, numbers. Our whole vision of success is based on numbers!

Did we have an increase in offering last year? Is the budget in the black, or the red… again? How many baptisms did we do? Confirmation? How many kids in the Sunday School? Numbers, numbers, numbers…

I get it all over. I meet a new pastor somewhere… what’s one of the first questions I get asked… “How big is your church?”

How about we make a deal… no more numbers.

Did Jesus focus on numbers? Did he have a budget that he had to get passed by the disciples every year to determine what ministry he would do? No, Jesus did what he was called/led/compelled to do to change people’s lives on the streets.

You want to measure success? You want your church to be the best it can be?

Then stop measuring it by earthly standards of dollars and cents.

Start measuring by lives changed.

Those are the only numbers that really count.

*Photo from