Attendance numbers in a megachurch are important regardless of the criticism they might get because churches are not meant to stay small and comfortable, says Perry Noble, senior pastor of the multi-campus NewSpring Church.
Noble said he has "caught some flak" in the past for caring about numbers too much and he admits that NewSpring hopes to attract more people than they have now because Jesus also cared about attracting multitudes.
"We're all about the numbers because we believe that every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God," Noble said in a recent blog post. "We aren't just about NewSpring being a church of thousands of people … we want all churches to be thousands strong because of the potential the church has."
Suzanne Swift, public relations director for NewSpring, told The Christian Post that their church averaged nearly 40,000 people during the month of August across their 10 campuses throughout South Carolina.
While they continuously attract more worship attendees than the average church, NewSpring has a vision to reach 100,000 people or more.
"To do this, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to invite friends and family to come to NewSpring and we can do that by having campuses in multiple locations," said Swift.
She added, "It's our desire to reach people who are far from God, so each week we present an engaging worship time with a message answering questions people are asking with biblical truth for their lives."
In his blog post, Noble also mentioned that the term "megachurch" is oftentimes used negatively by people who scrutinze large churches for simply having many attendees. But he notes that their criticism only suggests that they would rather see churches stay small for "convenience's sake."
He said that if that is what people want, they can continue engaging in the same strategies that bring them the same amount of people and "never worry about people outside the walls of our buildings because they might make us uncomfortable." However, that can bring on consequences, he explained.
"All the while people are going to hell because we're more concerned about our temporary comfort than people's eternal destinations. ... Maybe they don't like the idea of megachurches because their doubt is bigger than their faith that God can build a big church," Noble exclaimed.
To illustrate his point, Noble shed light on the early church and how, according to Acts 1:15, it grew immediately from merely a dozen to 120 then to over 3,000 in just a few days. He notes that Jesus wanted the church to extend around the world, more than anything else.
"It looks like Jesus unapologetically grew the size of His church beyond hundreds, thousands, and maybe He even wants millions or billions of people to be part of the Church," Noble said.
He then added, "There are far too many in the world who have yet to experience the life changing love of God. When the message about Jesus spreads and more people decide to follow Him, it's something worth celebrating, not debating or negating."