Whenever someone asks how "big" our church is, I have always tended to think in terms of the average Sunday morning worship attendance. I don't know if that is because our denominational form measures that (in addition to membership, which, quite honestly, I don't really even consider because membership is of such little value). At any rate, it occurred to me the other day that average Sunday morning worship attendance is really the wrong way to measure the size of a church community. I think it should actually be the number of people who call this their church home.
For instance, we probably average around 75 people or so for our Sunday worship gatherings (I am only guessing, because no one is allowed to count). However, this morning I counted about 145 people who consider this "their" church. That is basically the number who attend every now and then and doesn't even take into consideration many people who probably consider this their church but they haven't participated in anything for the last several years. So, in actuality, it is much more accurate to say that our church has 145+ people, than to say it has 75 people. Because if the church is the people, then it's not just how many might decide to be there on any given Sunday morning, but it is the total of ALL the people who consider these their fellow journeyers in their walk of faith. I suppose you could even justify throwing in some other folk who haven't been here in years, but I didn't feel like trying to figure out who they might all be.
Anyway, not only will I change my answer when someone asks how big our church is, but I think it is a change in mindset too... Our church isn't made up of the people on any given Sunday, but it is made up of all the people who call this their church - who are a part of our "community." I'm not sure how that works out that there is never a Sunday when everyone shows up at once, but it's probably a good thing because we couldn't accommodate everyone at the same time... so I guess it just works out somehow.
I can't believe I've just now started to think like this. Am I the only one who never knew?