Like many youth pastors I got into youth work because God placed in me a desire to see teens grow in their love and knowledge of Jesus. I have been and always will be a relationship person. By that I mean that I firmly believe that relationships take precedence over programs.

The funny thing is that I pastor in a large ministry in a large church. There is a stereotype that all large churches care about is numbers. “How many seats are filled at our events.” The assumption is that we really don’t care about individual people. This is really not the case for my church. This morning our staff prayed for the congregational prayer requests…all of them individually.

What I’m seeing is that over the past five months I have cared more about numbers and tracking students then ever before and it’s not because I’ve become a “numbers” guy. In fact, the push to keep track of students and leader contacts is because I have maintained my heart for individual students. We have grown significantly in attendance in the last few months and to not adjust our strategies would mean we would be uncaring if we didn’t start keeping better records of our students.

In the early church of Acts, there was a problem. The gentile widows weren’t getting included in the distribution of food. The Apostles responded to complaints and appointed seven men to take care of ALL of the widows. I can imagine that the responsibility included lists, registries and records to accomplish the task. In this case it would have been unbiblical to NOT care about the numbers in a systematic way to make sure everyone was being treated fairly.

Tracking attendance and of leader contact work comes from a desire to make every student feel known, cared for, and challenged. We are not perfect by any means but, I think we are being better at letting students know they matter by following up with them.

Keeping tabs on numbers is bad when it is for your own ego. Keeping track of numbers is good when students don’t slip through the cracks and are being cared for by leadership.

I challenge you to rethink your thoughts on attendance and student tracking. Used correctly, you can be people oriented while keeping good records of your students.