Inspire with (Dreaded) Numbers and (Wonderful) Pictures


I am a person who is adverse to numbers.  Truth be told, I switched from being an elementary education major during my junior year in college when I discovered that I had to (shudder the thought) teach 3rd grade math.  In grad school, I nearly had to be committed when I had to pass not one but two statistics classes.  I try to keep this dark secret to myself, but sometimes it slips out and now my daughter has decided that she too is numbers-phobic.  This, of course, puts me in the “horrible mother” category.  But, I digress with my parental insecurities.

Here is the fact:  numbers can inspire.  If your congregation is externally focused (and I know yours is), start keeping track of how you are impacting your community.  Count everything.  How much food you are collecting, how many people you are serving in ESL classes, how many hours you are reading to local school children.  If your church has a ministry that impacts others, keep track of it. 

To really bring the numbers to life, be sure to take plenty of pictures.  Ask community members for their permission but also take pictures of your congregation in action.  Nothing inspires others like seeing pictures of people they know being the hands and feet of Jesus in the community. 

Then, bring numbers and photographs together.  Every year, celebrate what you have done the previous year by compiling a “Community Impact Report.”  Send it out to everyone in the congregation, frame it and hang it up around the church, give it out to people who are interested in being a part of an active, vital community of Christ-followers.

The “Community Impact” numbers paired with photos can be inspiring to everyone and reassures them that their gifts matter.  And, it’s this kind of data that might just make me fall in love with numbers…but don’t hold your breath.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.