Just as it is wise for the church to have many saved and baptized, it is also wise for the pastor to set a personal goal for himself and lead his people in the same thing. For example, why couldn’t a pastor be responsible for baptizing fifty-two converts a year that he wins to Christ? This certainly should be a minimum. I have numbers of people in my church who are responsible for more than this, and I have several people in my church who bring over one hundred converts a year down the aisle professing faith in Jesus Christ. It might be well for the pastor to preach on soul winning and for his invitation ask the people to set a goal and ask God to give them that goal for souls for the coming year.
Immediately someone will suggest that numbers are not important and that we should not major on numbers. That is true if you are majoring on numbers for numbers’ sake. But if you are majoring on numbers for souls’ sake, certainly it is justifiable. Any church should be more pleased at baptizing one hundred than fifty, or two hundred than one hundred. Numbers are simply expressions of the intensity of soul-winning effort.
Let us look in the Word of God. In Acts 2:41 we find these words, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” You will notice that the Holy Spirit was very careful to say there were about “3,000” saved at Pentecost.
Then in Acts 4:4, “Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.” Notice in this verse about “5,000” more were saved. The Holy Spirit was very careful to deal in numbers.
Now turn back to Acts 1:15, “And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty).” Somebody counted the prayer meeting crowd, didn’t they?
Now to John 6:10, “And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.” This great miracle of the feeding of five thousand men plus women and children is called by most of us the “feeding of the 5,000.” The very fact that we have given it this title means that we are stressing numbers.
Now look at John 6:9: “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?” The Holy Spirit is very careful to tell us about how many fishes and how many loaves.
In John 6:13, “Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.” Here we find that the Holy Spirit tells us how many baskets of fragments remain.
These are only a few examples of scores of others in the Bible where the Holy Spirit deals in numbers. Numbers are important with God. He had rather see two people saved than one. He had rather see one hundred saved than fifty. He had rather see two hundred saved than one hundred because every statistic represents a soul who will spend eternity with Christ and escape the fires of Hell.