There is not a child of God but who would rejoice when a local church grows spiritually and in numbers. However, are numbers always the best?
The right kind of numbers always is the best and will glorify God. When the Jews obeyed the gospel Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41), they were added by the Lord to his church (Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23). Each and every individual who has obeyed the gospel since (Acts 2), has done the same (with no exception). Each convert adds one (number) to the Lord’s church. This is the way God planned for it to be from the beginning of time. This is the right kind of numbers!
When the wrong kind of numbers are added to a local church membership roll it spiritually contaminates that church. The increase is repugnant to God and his word; not only that, but the local church is a party to that one in sin. If not, why not? “Whosoever sins and abides not in the doctrine of Christ has not God” (2 Jn. 9). It’s true, that if the church wants great numbers, then by all means, accept great sin. Accept the lifestyles of adulterers and adulteresses, gays and lesbians, and fornicators and child molesters and you will see the numbers grow in leaps and bounds. This is the wrong kind of numbers!
Preachers and elders must avoid leaving the idea that any number is acceptable with God. Did not the scriptures tell us that God’s people are few in numbers (Deut 7:7). It is far better to worship God with a righteous few than to worship with a great multitudes of unrepentant sinners.
Paul said it this way, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). Numbers! Yes, when they are the scriptural kind. Numbers! No, when they are the unscriptural kind.