“It’s not about numbers!” I heard the frustration. We don’t want to play a numbers game – where we’re driven to baptise, baptise, baptise like it’s some sort of production line!
I’ve heard variations on the theme pop up fairly regularly since last millennium. I get it. We’re involved in leading people to Christ. We’re not making widgets.
I’ve enjoyed touring factories on the odd occasion. I’ve seen Australia’s favourite breakfast food go from wheat to flakes to biscuits to Weet-Bix packets to a truck to a supermarket to a breakfast bowl. That is all about numbers.
Handel, when writing that famous musical treasure, Messiah, included a powerful piece, All We Like Sheep Have Gone Astray. Of course, Handel was using what Isaiah had written all those centuries ago. He recognised that people choose – often the wrong way. That is not about numbers.
So, making disciples is not the same as a production line. When a person becomes a disciple of Christ, it’s by choice – their choice – guided by the Holy Spirit, but it’s still up to them. There are many choices along the way that lead one to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. However, the wheat didn’t choose to become Weet-Bix. The wheat has no choice in the matter at all.
It has been widely recognized that Jesus gave the church its job description in Matthew 28:18-20. The commission is clear – to make disciples – and He did mention baptising them. That’s not to the exclusion of pastoral care for those who are members and already part of the body of Christ, but our job remains – to make disciples, to baptise and to teach. That’s not about numbers. It’s about people – and people count!
The Victorian Conference leadership team are committed to resourcing, training, equipping and empowering pastors, leaders, churches and members to be effective disciple-makers in a holistic intentional way. We don’t play the numbers game – but we do plan, set goals and develop strategies to reach people – why? Because people matter to God – and to us. We measure how we’re going because we want to know if what we’re doing is effective.
In this Intravic, you’ll see an overview of the Conference Strategic Plan and reports of what our departmental leaders have done and plan to do to grow our churches in seven areas – all with a view to achieving the mission Jesus gave us.
How will you be involved? How you respond to Jesus – now that’s your choice.