Every Friday is metrics day in the national office as we put together the weekly dashboards that help the senior management team see the progress of the wonderful work you are all doing. At the moment we’re looking at the year-end numbers for 2015/16 and a number of you have helped prepare for that. Thank you. It’s not quite John Nash’s office in Russell Crowe’s “A Beautiful Mind” with numbers literally written everywhere but sometimes feels not far off. We deal with ever increasing numbers…over 2,000 volunteers, representing over 500 churches. More than 500 families supported, with over 1,300 children benefitting from that support. 185 children have been hosted and we’re approaching 900 bed nights. We look at numbers by week, by month and by year. We split by region, by local authority, by church, by postcode. We have an abundance of stats that each shed a different light on the current picture.
As we continue to grow to take on more referrals in our existing hubs and expand geographically into new areas then these numbers will only continue to increase. I love the feeling when another milestone is passed. This year we aim to support 900 referrals, almost double what we’ve achieved in our life to date, which will be a fantastic achievement. It’s vital we have the numbers. They show us and others what we’ve done and help us plan for what we could do. But behind the headline grabbing numbers, the stories of transformation in many of the individual lives Safe Families for Children touches are even more exciting.
Jesus also dealt in some big numbers. Thousands fed in a single sitting from the lunch of a small boy, miraculous hauls of fish so big that they tore the nets, and healings on a grand scale. I love this bit from the NLT version of Matthew 15: “A vast crowd brought to him people who were lame, blind, crippled, those who couldn’t speak, and many others. They laid them before Jesus, and he healed them all.” Not one or two, or as many as He could in the time He had. Instead He healed them all.
But Jesus also had a heart for the one, He wasn’t just about the big numbers. In John 5 we read the account of Jesus at the pool of Bethesda. We read that there were “crowds of sick people – blind, lame, or paralysed”. Jesus could have healed them all as we saw in Matthew 15, but in this case it’s the helplessness of the man who’s been ill for 38 years that attracts Jesus’ compassion and healing. He heals that one man and then slips away into the crowd and can’t be spotted.
There is great power in the stories our supported families tell. Hearing the difference made to a family by the time and love given by our volunteers really brings home the impact we are having on lives across the country. So as much as we rightly celebrate the milestones and look at the big numbers, it’s important to celebrate the one; each individual life that’s helped and every family that’s empowered and helped to stay together as a result of the support they’ve received.