Throughout this past week I have heard story after story of how the people of Hickory Creek Community Church are being challenged and changed by God’s Word and the ministry of the church. As we continue to read through the New Testament as a church, the transforming power of Scripture is evident in so many testimonies, not to mention the stories I don’t hear. Not only is God’s Word having a profound effect on lives, but the people of our church are opening their hearts and using their gifts to minister to individuals and families at Hickory Creek and beyond. All of these evidences of God’s grace have been a great reminder to my soul that ministry is about changed lives, not numerical growth. In church ministry, it is hard to measure effectiveness, given that life change is our goal and life change is hard to measure at times. So we count people. Counting isn’t all bad – more people means more lives to minister to and more people to share the good news of Jesus with. However, numbers don’t always mean effective ministry – again, attracting a crowd isn’t our goal; the furtherance of Christ’s kingdom is. With all of that said, when the numbers were down this week for one reason or another, God saw fit to pull back the curtain and reveal the work He is doing through us in the people of our church and community. We’ll still count this Sunday, but we will always look beyond the numbers to the lives they represent. Praise God for using weak and broken people to accomplish His will and bring Him glory.