The point? Be careful how you count. And if it results in pride, jealousy, fear or anxiety – stop counting.
With that said as a word of caution. It’s also true that every number has a name. Every name has a story. Every story matters to God.
We are spending a lot of time this summer in preparation for the fall and as we are preparing here are a few of the numbers from the first 6 months of 2013 and the stories they are telling us.
Our average worship attendance for the first 6 months of 2013 is 1,187. That’s a slight increase (5%) from the same time frame in 2012. Part of that increase is attributed to the success of our live streaming of worship services. Investing in our online presence will continue to be a priority in the coming year.
Over the last 6½ months we’ve dedicated 17 babies and celebrated transformed lives with 34 baptisms. We have another 15 baptisms scheduled in the coming weeks and we are on track to exceed the total of 51 baptisms in 2012. We’ve also welcomed 126 First Time Guests to Mountaintop. Helping those guests know how to take a first step at Mountaintop is important and this fall we are going to be revealing some great opportunities for everyone who needs to take a next step.
On a typical Sunday morning in 2013 we have averaged 285 kids (birth – 5th grade), 34 Middle School students and 51 High Schoolers. Investing resources in our ministries to Children and Students will be a major focus for us as we head into the fall. We are moving forward in a search for new leadership in High School, we are brining in a worship leader for Student Ministries and working on improving the environments for Middle School and High School.
We count people because people count and we also count dollars – not because dollars count but because Jesus taught us that:
where our treasure is, there our heart will be also.
Matthew 6 21
Here’s what the numbers tell us about our hearts.
For the past twelve months (July 2012 – June 2013) contributions to Mountaintop totaled $2,652,657. That’s a 4% increase over the previous twelve months. Those contributions came from 1,129 contributors, which is 82 more than the prior year. We are blessed to be a blessing and since last September we have disbursed more than $256,000 to Compassion Ministries here in Birmingham and all around the world.
When you dig a little deeper into the numbers 42% of our contributions come from less than 6% of our contributors (65). While the number of contributors who give more than $10,000/year has increased (from 56 to 65), 62% of those who make a contribution to Mountaintop give less than $5 each week. We have a great opportunity (and a challenge) to grow in generosity. That’s going to be another area of focus later this year. The goal won’t be to increase our budget – but to put our hearts in the right place so that we might discover that generosity is a key to taking hold of the life that is truly life.
Our real measures of success will never be the things that we can count but rather the stories that we tell of lives that are being transformed as we learn and share a better way to live. But every number has a name and every name as a story that matters to God. This coming year is going to provide amazing opportunities to be a part of God writing amazing stories of restoration and redemption.