Monday, January 7, 2013
Diary of a New Campus: First Look at Numbers
We all know ministry isn't about numbers. It's about people. But if we want to take care of people who come to a weekend service, especially kids and families, we have to understand the numbers we're dealing with. Numbers help us make sure we have enough space and leaders to provide a safe and unforgettable experience for our kids so that they can encounter the love of God.
Going into this launch weekend the numbers were a huge mystery. Everyone told us to plan for 2,000-3,000 people, but really it was educated guess at best. None of us knew who was going to show up and what God was going to do.
Would we have 1,000 people that first weekend or 8,000? Would we have the room we needed? Would we have adequate leader coverage? Would we be able to efficiently check families in and out of our environments? At what point would the rooms begin to feel crowded?
Well, launch weekend has come and gone and now that the dust has settled I've begun the process of taking a hard look at our weekend numbers. Here's what we had in Nursery and Children's Ministry:
Nursery (birth - 3): 219
Preschool (3-PreK): 140
K-2nd Grade: 201
3rd-5th Grade: 156
First of all, wow! 716! Yes, it when it comes to spiritual matters bigger isn't always better, but this isn't about bigger. It's about 716 individual kids. 716 bundles of eternal potential. 716 kids who God wants to know just how special they are to Him. Each one of those kids has an unique place in God's big story, and we got to help them write the beginning of a new chapter of it this weekend.
It was so much fun to see so many kids packing out the place. The good news is yes, we did have enough space and enough leaders - for now. Some of those leaders, however, are a part of a special launch team (thank goodness for them) who we recruited for January just to get us off the ground and to buy us some time to identify who exactly would be attending the new campus. Others are our permanent, fully invested Big Picture Show team who committed to going to Richmond Road months before launch.
So the trick is, of course, praying for God to reveal those new leaders who will come in behind the launch team at the end of the month to make sure we're fully staffed. I'm not worried there. We've kept the bar high on the caliber of our leaders we're looking for and God has been faithful to provide. It's only a matter of time.
To complicate matters, we know it will be months before we know how many people are really attending and which services will be the fullest. What are our recruiting needs truly going to be? I expect those numbers to fluctuate until late February or so before people really start to settle in to the new campus.
Also, did I mention that the auditorium has an unfinished balcony that can be completed down the road to accommodate more seats - hundreds of more seats? What does that many more people in the auditorium look like in the Children's Ministry rooms? How much more space will we need? How many more leaders?
More numbers work tomorrow as we get ready for next weekend's guests! The adventure continues!