Sunday, March 18, 2007

Is Your Church The Solution Or The Problem?

The proportion of the world’s population that is unevangelized came down dramatically last century. The proportion that had not heard a gospel presentation shrank from 50.2 per cent in 1900 to 27.5 percent in 2004. Yet there are an estimated 1.747 billion people in the world who have never heard the gospel. Their ranks are expected to increase to 1.946 billion by 2025.

In a booming, high tech-oriented economy in which personal incomes have reached a combined $8 trillion…giving to Evangelical Protestant mission agencies has remained modest at best, at around $3 billion annually. For all the current emphasis on unreached peoples, only 0.01 per cent of the average Christian family income is aimed at reaching the so-called 10/40 window.

(Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century)

After one of my talks a man came up to me and said, “Talking about missions and the vast need is like trying to comprehend the national debt. I just can’t get my arms around it.”

Like the national debt, the Church has two options as it relates to world outreach. One, ignore the statistics and just go about doing missions as usual. This passive approach is part of the reason one third of the world has never had a Gospel witness.

Two, try to do something different, creative and strategic. The enormity of the task should not deter us from trying, even in a small way, to solve the problem. The great need is for the church to begin the process of truly fulfilling the Great Commission in taking the message of Christ to those who have never heard. Here is an outline for that process, which will be expanded in future posts.

1. Informed Missional Church. Local assemblies are the gatekeepers of the GC. One third of the world’s population, if they are to have a chance to hear the message of Christ, will only have that opportunity if, and when, the local church becomes truly informed. This education process will be long and continuous.

2. Purposed Missional Church. An informed congregation is one that creates an intentional purpose for reaching those without the message of Christ.

3. Strategic Missional Church. Purpose drives the local church to know (a) the target people for outreach, (b) the people who will do the work and, (c) how the task will be accomplished through global resources.

With these three components, coupled with focused and purposed prayer, the local congregation will be in a position to break away from being the problem to becoming a part of the solution in world outreach. This progression will not be accomplished overnight, but it does not require years to implement. The key is to begin and to move consistently forward.

1 comment:

BradB said...

Looking forward to further posts on your outline!