The other day Pastor Harrell and myself sat with another pastor who had come for the purpose of fellowship and inspiration - it seems God has been doing something pretty amazing in his small church lately. Somewhere between the talk of salads and how much easier it is to eat your spinich in your salad we began to talk about what we really met for: to talk church, leadership, growth, people and how to continue to honor God through change.
As we ate lunch and began to talk about the seriousness of lostness and the danger of religiosity (i have no better way to describe the conversation ) Pastor began to figure how many people in our region actually attend church on any given Sunday. Now, before I tell you, I want to remind you that we are in the heart of the "bible-belt", the area where people are more "churched" than anywhere else in America. The numbers I'm about to give you are not scientific by any means, but I do think that they demonstrate the seriousness of the subject:
The number of people attending church in our area on any given Sunday: somewhere between 20 and 25%
The number of people within a 10 mile radius of hyde park church: between 35 and 40,000
The number of churches in our area showing significant conversion growth: 0
The number of churches that seem to actually be concerned about the fact that they aren't reaching people: not enough
Everyone at the table was blown away (and humbled) by the seriousness of the numbers. The numbers DO in fact tell the tale - the tale of the fact that we ALL better realize that, as I said the other day,
"people aren't just gonna fall under His (God's) spell and run for the doors of hyde park, but instead, He will draw people to Himself by His Spirit and make them think about Him - their need for Him and how life would probably be better with Him. Then, He will place people in their paths (that would be you) and because you have tried your best to represent Him in all you've done with and around that person (hey, we all mess up - people are forgiving) God will use you and I to bring them to a place where they can explore who He is - a place that allows them to follow BEFORE they obey."
Churches DON'T reach people - people reach people. You are "the church". How is God using you to reach those that are far from Him?
WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!!! IF NOT US, WHO? I will not sit around and be content to go through our weekly church meetings and going about our normal lives, putting JESUS on the back window of our cars until next weekend when we check Him off our list again. I would rather go through life being that guy that puts out the spinich on the salad bar...