“Numbers. They’re the currency of ministry. The crowd has become the definition of ministry success.” —Thom Schultz

How many women attended your last Bible study or event? And how did you feel about that number? Probably one of two ways:

  1. Yay! More women showed up; we must be doing it right!
  2. Sigh…Not as many women as we wanted or expected came. What are we doing wrong?

Sound familiar? You invested a lot of time, energy, and emotion to create the opportunity for women to connect and grow in their faith. You prayed. You asked God for wisdom, guidance, and strength. You were excited for the vision he gave you and your ministry team.

Then…only 5 people showed up. Or only 50. Or only 200 instead of the 250 you had last time. The numbers fell short. You felt disappointed, discouraged, and perhaps even defeated.

That’s how numbers become the currency of ministry—high equals good, low equals bad. Most leaders don’t realize how often they measure success by crowd size rather than changed lives.

People are easy to count. Spiritual fruit is not. So after your next event, will you count quantity or will you invest the time to measure quality?

In order to measure quality, count change, the true currency of ministry. If only one person showed up for your Bible study, would you be willing to laugh, cry, and share as God transforms her life? Her one life? Isn’t it time we said more “Hallelujahs!” and “Yays!” to one changed life instead of the number of chairs we filled?

Ask women to share their stories. Make a file scrapbook or ministry archive filled with short testimonies to document how women’s lives were transformed through your ministry. Start a Facebook page, create a bulletin board, or host a Changed Lives event to create more opportunities for women to share.

Remember, the number in the crowd does not equal the success of your ministry. Even though Jesus had large crowds follow him, the people weren’t amazed because of the numbers. They were amazed by him. Measure the fruit of change in your ministry, and you’ll be amazed by Jesus too!


Linda Crawford writes from her home office—the kitchen counter—with a mug of hot chocolate and a furry dog at her feet.