Disrespecting Math

Six years ago tonight we held the first worship gathering for Echo Church. In some respects, it's been a difficult trek; after six years, we're still not where I thought we'd be after two years. If 29 year-old Steve knew the road that awaited him in this endeavor, I'm sure he would have taken another route. But that guy was a moron.

The vast majority of us pastors are egomaniacs. If we pursue a minister endeavor, we feel compelled to justify that our work is significant. I do this often times with Echo, attempting to quantify how well things are progressing. But I soon realize how pathetic I am. I solely need to take comfort in the fact that God is using this congregation for His glory; I should leave the evaluation to Him, and Him alone.

I discovered some affirmation of this in some of my recent reading. In the late 19th century, a Japanese evangelist named Uchimura Kanzo visited the United States. After encountering our society, including our very Western incarnation of faith, he made the following observation:

“Americans are great people; there is no doubt about that. They are great in building cities and railroads. . . . Americans have a wonderful genius for improving breeds of horses, cattle, sheep and swine. . . . Americans too are great inventors. . . . Needless to say, they are great in money. . . . Americans are great in all these things and much else; but not in religion. . . . Americans must count religion in order to see or show its value. . . . To them big churches are successful churches. . . . To win the greatest number of converts with the least expense is their constant endeavor. Statistics is their way of showing success or failure in their religion as in their commerce and politics. Numbers, numbers, oh how they value numbers.”

He's correct. And he wrote this 100 years ago.

I need to cherish the fact that our numbers just don't add up. And I do. I just need to remind myself of this. Constantly.

I absolutely love Echo Church. I'm blessed with the opportunity to serve as one of her shepherds. And I'm grateful for the people who have joined us in this journey—both those here now and those who have joined us along the way. Greater things are yet to come. Of this, I'm certain.

And I love the fact that there'll be plenty more of these anniversaries to come.