Welcome and thanks for participating in day 18 of the ARISE fast and devotional blog. If you haven’t read the previous days, please go back and read them before reading todays, as these thoughts will build off of one another.
Day 18: Simple Math
Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile – Albert Einstein
Everyone has different strengths. Some are great thinkers, some are great fighters, some are great lovers.
Everyone has weaknesses. Some struggle athletically, some struggle academically, some struggle in their love life.
My worst subject in school was algebra. In fact, the only F I’ve ever earned in my whole academic career was 10th grade algebra. I actually made some negative grades on tests in that class… How does that happen? If you didn’t do homework you were counted off on the test… and when you make make a zero on the test, and also didn’t do your homework. Yep, a mixture of not understanding it and teenage “I don’t care-ism” led to my big whopping F in algebra.
Oddly enough, while I was horrible in algebra, I was really good in basic math. I have always been able to do somewhat complicated addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in my head. At the store, I can quickly tell you how much that shirt costs with the 15% discount. No calculator needed.
People of the movement know that math is important. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, we know that 3,000 people were saved. In Acts 4, after Peter and John were imprisoned, we know that the church grew to 5,000… now that’s a growth strategy, imprison the pastors and the church grows!
You may have heard it said – “churches count people because people count!” Or maybe you’ve heard that “God cares about numbers. After all there’s a whole book of the Old Testament called Numbers!” Like many pastors, I have said both of those statements and believe they are true. But I also want to share another reason numbers matter.
Numbers matter because in order to have a movement that affects culture it takes enough people to actually affect culture. The movement of Christianity started with one (Jesus) that led to 12 (disciples) that grew to 120 in an upper room, that blossomed into 3,000 in on the Day of Pentecost and 5,000 after the first church miracle and subsequent imprisonment.
The formula for momentum is P=MV. P being momentum, M equaling mass, and V being velocity. Scientists understand momentum as mass and velocity. Mass equals people. Without people there is no momentum. When people (mass) move together with common purpose (velocity), momentum happens. The size of the mass doesn’t matter nearly as much as the fact that the mass is moving forward with intentionality. As long as mass is moving, momentum happens. 1 + 12 + 120 + 3,000 + 5,000. P=MV
Movements need momentum.
Institutionalized Christians are annoyed with masses of people. Crowds in their church take away their special seats, parking spaces and extra personal space. I bet you’ve heard stories of “Christians” who expect guests to move because they sat in their seat. Institutional Christians hate to give up their parking spaces and seats because their “rights” have become more sacred than people.
But… people are sacred to God. And masses of people moving in the same direction create movements.
The early church movement loved people and gave up their “rights” because their love for God and others compelled them. They didn’t see crowds as an annoyance; they saw crowds as their brothers and sisters. They cared for people and desperately wanted them to experience the love and freedom of God that they had experienced.
Institutionalized people don’t want church growth because crowds of people interfere with their worship. The worship that arises by people of the movement is motivated by their love for people.
It’s pretty simple math. And the Lord added to their number daily…
JOIN THE MOVEMENT
Esse Quam Videri,
Meditate and reflect on this verse and questions:
Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:46-47
1. In your heart of hearts, do you really desire the church to be full and experience the inconveniences associated with crowds?
2. What conveniences are you willing to give up in order to love your neighbor?
3. John the Baptist “Prepared the way of the Lord.” How are you preparing the way of the Lord for unbelievers?
– Pray that you would continually become more selfless amidst a selfish culture.
– Pray that people will experience God each week in our church and God would add to our numbers daily.
– Pray that as numbers come (mass) that we would become unified in mission.