Numbers don’t matter? Do they?

It is easy to get in to the numbers game, not just the counting…ignoring them to. You cannot stand at the extremes, numbers do matter but we have to be careful what the narrative behind them is.

Last week we began our new missional community and, with all faith, said that even if nobody outside of family turned up, we would be happy. This soon changed as we had a number of people who committed to attend – 14 in all and my hopes had been raised, space would be a challenge and we were going to have an incredible start. On the day, we had 9 in total – but not from the group that had committed – just 3 from there. It was a fabulous start and I was (initially at least) disappointed.

Numbers are a guide, they cannot and should not be ignored. However, we must be careful to listen to the narrative behind the numbers and look at the long term success or failure. Jesus was deserted and by the time of his crucifixion was completely alone…..years later, the world was changed and numbers are beyond counting now. We need to track our numbers and learn what the figures say but the spreadsheet should not determine direction of travel or key decisions, for this we need the story.

There were good reasons why a number of folk did not turn up for our first meeting, we will be logging the numbers in the next few months and see the trends. However, they will not prevent us sticking to the calling at hand. We will see a community of believers transforming this area because God is at work and his faithful friends are serving. Some of these things can be counted, some cannot.

Numbers matter but numbers alone are a noose around our neck. They are a part of the story, not the whole. Numbers matter, do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

 

Team or Celebrity?

Currently, the football (soccer) world was taken by storm by an unheralded Leicester team that won through an emphatic season. Their was no stand out stars although certain names began to emerge. Similar to Greece in 2004 when they won the Euros with a group of players that were unknown to a wider audience. This is unusual, most teams will have a player who is considered a star and if the team is fortunate, they will have a number of stars (cf Real Madrid and their Galacticos).

However, it should be remembered that in team sports, a star player cannot win on their own. Think Pele with Brazil, Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, Kobe Bryant with the Lakers. None of these celebrity players could have won on their own – they needed a team around them, most of whom remain forgotten in the mists of time but were essential to the success of the team.

So it is with Church. There are many who would choose to be the Apostle Paul (yet shy away from the persecution and suffering), yet even Paul needed his support people. Many would like to be the author of a great book, new course, on the platform at the global conferences etc. etc. but we cannot ever lose sight of the community of faith. We are all called to play our part and to engage with the mission. Not all of us will receive the credit, praise or be given a platform but all of us are called to love one another, seek each others best interest and to honour the name of God.

Let’s serve the team and be humble enough to accept our place within it. Lets be satisfied to be the Horace Grant, Steve Kerr, Brian Shaw, or Wilson Piazza on our team.

Let’s play!

Why?

Have you ever wondered why people do the things they do? Tell me, why do some people;

  1. phone me to ask if I have read their email? – just do one or the other, not both, you are duplicating workload.
  2. leave a phone message to ask me to call back when they could just leave a better message? – this is just lazy and adding unnecessarily to workload
  3. read their presentation directly from notes and give you the handout? – just give me the handout. If you do a presentation then add life to the written page.
  4. pay for a gym membership to do step training, yet do not walk up escalators? – one is free, the other extortionate
  5. attend a concert, make a poor recording on their phone and then buy a professional recording to watch? – ignore the poor recording and engage in the concert

There are many, many more but these were the first few that came to mind. What would you add to the list?

Alison Levine Quote

“Toxic leadership can come in a variety of forms, but basically when leadership is bad, it’s because the leaders aren’t putting themselves in the shoes of the people they’re leading. People want to know that their leaders have as much skin in the game as they do……There are many factors that influence the success of a leader, but leaders that put their people first will build the trust and loyalty that is required to effectively lead.”

Influence….you just never know…

We may never know the influence that we really have, we may never know what impact the words we have uttered will bring into the lives of other individuals. There is something extraordinary in the way we can bring influence to bear, even better when that influence is for good.
A few years back, I was privileged to hear the story of a young man who had grown in wisdom and stature with his home church. Now a leader, he sought me out to share a few things about his life and the direction that he was now pursuing. It was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. At the end of a bible study programme, he had spoken with me and apparently the words I said, long since forgotten by me (but not him), challenged him to action and a course that would enable his creativity to live. I had no idea….
This week, I spoke with a former work colleague. He shared that I had been influential in his life and that he had considered me to be a mentor during his time in the organisation. I had no idea….
The life you live, the words that you say, the influence you may have may be powerful beyond your lifetime. You just never know the influence that you may be having on the people around you, the changes people are making because you are present….your life, your ways….they are influential, you need to start believing it and acting on it. Make your words a tool for the good, a positive force for others and as you do so, change the world!
Influence…you just never know…