By The Numbers
Let’s face it, numbers are important. It’s nearly impossible to measure anything without using numbers. And without measurements, how do we know whether we’re accomplishing what we seek to accomplish?
In some church circles, there has been a knee-jerk negative reaction to any mention of numbers. In others, the talk of numbers has been so prioritized as to become the primary focus of some leaders. Somewhere in the middle, though, is a healthy understanding that numbers don’t equal success, but that certain numbers, when viewed in proper perspective, can measure the results of success.
Take, for example, our goal of making everyone feel welcome at our new church in Nakuru, Kenya. We know that there are things we can do to help people transition into our community, and we are committed to constantly delivering the message that all are welcome. But how do we know if we’re hitting the mark?
We have to look at the numbers. Does our crowd match the vision? In this case, in order to know whether our “everyone is welcome” message is getting through, we have to look at the diversity of the crowd.
Admittedly, “diversity” is still a bit ambiguous. Does diversity mean that you have a few “minorities” in the crowd? Is there a percentage you’re shooting for? Is it all about ethnic diversity, or are there other ways you seek to see diversity among the people?
At Trinity Vineyard Church Nakuru, we want to see diversity in many facets of our community. And at our first gathering, we were thrilled to note a few really positive indicators for diversity:
NATIONALITY: We had people from at least 5 different countries represented, and 60% of our crowd was Kenyan. TRIBE: There are 42 official tribes in Kenya (many of which are very small and live in remote parts of the country). In our gathering, at least 5 tribes were represented. AGE: Our crowd consisted of 40 adults and 26 kids. Though we didn’t ask people’s ages (which would be a little off-putting), we had people from infant through 60+ years in attendance, with fairly even distribution. OCCUPATION: Many may assume this is a “missionary church,” but in fact, though we saw quite a few missionaries in attendance, we also saw doctors, teachers, administrators, engineers, homemakers, veterinarians, bankers, entrepreneurs, and farmers. ECONOMICS: In Kenya, a western-style church tends to be more attractive to people with means. Most lower-income Kenyans prefer a more traditionally Kenyan expression. However, we were fortunate to have people from many income levels in the group that we gathered. From single mothers living on almost no income, to laborers making less than $5 a day, to business professionals earning sizable salaries, all gathered together as a family to worship God.
For us, this is exciting news. The kind of welcoming atmosphere we want to create is best measured by our diversity, and our initial gathering was quite diverse. Please continue to pray with us that more doors will be opened, and that we’ll continue to see a diverse group of people coming together at Trinity Vineyard Church Nakuru.