If you are involved in ministry within the United Methodist Church, you may have good reason to be depressed. It seems that everywhere we turn, there is someone waiting to remind us about the dwindling numbers in our denomination. It is true. Statistics show that membership in our churches is declining, and there are various initiatives being explored to help us reverse that trend.
But I don't think Jesus read statistics. Jesus read hearts and minds. Jesus may have attracted the crowds, and filled the fields to capacity, but His focus was always on the individual. Friends...there is power in focusing on the individual. Ask Nicodemus, who came to Jesus at night, and undoubtedly returned to witness to the Sanhedrin. Ask the woman at the well, who was so moved after her encounter with Jesus that she told her entire village about Him. Ask Zacchaeus, whose transformed life after having spent time with Jesus was a far more powerful witness in his community than any words could ever have been.
So if you are ministering in a small church; if you are the teacher to that one lone child; if you serve in your church nursery with that one single baby on your lap...take heart! We who are called United Methodists still seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ, for the transformation of the world...and this usually begins with the transformation of one.
Yes, there is work to be done in our denomination, but far better to significantly impact the heart and mind of one, than to attract one hundred who do not hear the message. The individual was important to Jesus. And if that was good enough for Him, then it's good enough for me.
Read this interesting article from Jim Winkler, on 'Lies & Statistics'