So Reality: what is the truth about the state of our reaching all people; Mt:28:18-20? Many of the new statistics say we are loosing ground in the western world. One report I read said that now instead of 21% or the world to reach we are now at 24%… In the USA we are closing 3 churches a day. This gives reason for pause or Selah! These figures for the most part mean nothing to the normal person involved in Christianity. That is a number that represents a lot of folks we never will encounter. So for most, It is just a number that someone came up with to cause an emotional stir in my heart but it is not relevant to my life.
Jesus would have us think about those around us. That statistic is about the “world”, and in our culture where “Jesus has been preached” that probably means that at least 1 in every 5-6 has probably NOT heard… so when we look around us, we need to be aware of the fact that all in all 1 out of every 5 people I work with has not had a real encounter with Jesus, has not heard the gospel. In Mid eastern areas that figure is much higher and in ours a bit lower – but remember – God wants to reach “All”.
Let’s bring this down to a closer perspective. Let’s look at our city or region, the place we live and to the people we see every day. First, lets get some statistics written down. I would recommend that you print this page off and put some figures in the following places;
- What is the population of your town, city or region?
- How many churches in your city, town or region?
- Find a few of these churches and ask “how many baptisms do you average a year. (take the past 5 years of statistics and find a number)
- What is the percentage of those who attend church regularly who actually preach, teach or witness (intentional sharing of the gospel message for more than 5 minutes at a time) at least 2 times a week.
- How many of those attending the traditional church actually make disciples who will then also make disciples who will make disciples ? (average per church).
- What is the growth rate of the population in your area?
NOW, with these statistics, calculate how many years it will take to reach your area with the Gospel message. (I am not talking about a crusade message or a worship gathering but “The message of Christ” that is the naturally-supernatural expression of God’s presence, power and love that changes the impossible and the way we live.) Getting people to say a prayer of repentance that is not a part of their heart is not what I am talking about. I am talking about sharing a message that changes their heart and living, where they will impact their world by making disciples and bring God’s kingdom to those around them.
How many of those not reached in your area are you willing to see die without hearing about the real Jesus? Which of those you work with, live around and see daily are going to be relegated to hell and is that ok with you?
Dana and I have been sharing about intimacy and discipleship (obeying the commands of Christ) around the world for the past 15 years and for a lot longer in the USA. For the most part overseas we end up interacting with leaders, elders and pastors in our trainings.
In all the countries and places we have taught, the average percentage of people involved in ministry in traditional Christian churches is between 3-7% (The larger the “church” the lower the percentage of involvement of people). This stat means that 93% of “The Church” on the average is sitting and believe that sitting is “practicing Christianity”. Even if the percentage is as high as 15% going, that leaves 85% sitting who do not believe that their obedience to the Gospel mandate is important. In spite of what we leaders think we have been teaching, the fruit of our messages reveals the truth. If 93% (on the average) of those we speak to are sitting, our real message (the one they heard) is that sitting is the correct response to our words and that they are un-important to Christ and the church.
In most cases, we find through the statistics pastors and leaders give us — it will take 250 years to eternity to reach the population of any given area. (there are exceptions but it is rare).
For the most part, the miraculous presence and power of Jesus is not a part of the “normal” believers life. Discipleship that leads someone to walk like Jesus and produces the same through those “discipled ones” in others, (2 Tim.2:2) is pretty much non-existent. (there are some places that this is changing in, but that is not enough, does not give anyone the right to sit-just because someone else is doing it)
Interestingly, for the most part, leaders do not do what they are preaching at others they should do. Most pastors do not have anyone who is not “saved” in their circle of fellowship and are not making disciples that make disciples.
How can we reach the lost if we only fellowship with those already reached? Discipleship is not optional, it is what is called “the great commission”. Leaders are to be the examples and servants who equip the rest of us to do the work of the ministry, (Mt. 20:25-28, 1 Pet.5:1-4, Eph. 4:11-15). If we are not discipling, why would anyone in the church do it?
What is the answer to our dilemma? What must change for us to complete the Gospel mandate –in our own areas of influence? There are answers in the scripture and they are pretty plain. God is not going to accept our excuses, which are nothing more than “invalid reasons for neglect of duty”. Each of us will be held accountable for NOT obeying the mandate of Jesus to go to all… and make disciples, to preach and live the Gospel message. Leaders will be responsible for producing a non-reproducing body of Christ.
We do not need to look further than our own neighborhoods or areas of influence, work, family, recreation time, and normal living activities to see where we must go and whom we must reach with the message of hope, power and love.
I have a question. Will our “confession of Jesus” without any “works of faith” be enough? The Word says that we must “believe in our hearts and confess (talk about with others) Jesus to be saved”. We are to obey – do and observe – the commands of Christ to show we are God’s children and to testify to our love of Him, (Jn14:15, 15:14). We are to do what the man Jesus did on earth to reveal the Father’s heart to others. We are sent to make disciples and be witnesses of God our Father, just like Jesus and the disciples He made, (Jn 20:21), and we are children of God, (1Jn.3:2-3, Gal. 3:26-4:7, Rom. 8:14-17). Those who do believe through our message should have signs and wonders as a part of their lives, (Mk.1615-18, 1 Co.3:16 and 6:19). So why are we not reaching every kindred, tribe, and tongue in our towns, cities and regions with the message? It is not the leaders job to do it all, they are to equip and edify, be an example and according to Jesus be the servants of all. The Church is to do the work of the ministry—filled with faith, hope, and love.
It is all believers’ privilege and duty to reach ALL!
In Father’s Hand, neil
Note November 9, 2015
I believe that Christian reality is “change”. (adapt, improvise and overcome is a marine basics. It should be a Christians motto also). I believe that attitude is extremely relevant today in our times. A change or a paradigm shift in our thinking and the living out our beliefs is a must. As always the Lord continues to be about molding us into the image of His son. We seem to alway be in a place of carrying too much baggage or being too religious to be all He has created us to be. Heart surgery is a continual state of being since out of it flow the issues of life. To fulfill Father’s desires and purpose we will need to re-evaluate, repent, trust and obey!
Hebrews tells us that real faith rests. We are to strive to enter that position of truth. Church teaching has made us believe that we do not have enough faith. Jesus says any faith is enough, even a grain of mustard seed. The Church majors on faith, Jesus majors on love. We think we need to muster more faith, Jesus says that faith comes by hearing — (intimate conversation). Jesus wants us to trust and obey. Prayer should be and is the result of hearing – not a general word from the canon of scripture, though that is a significant motivation to pray, but like Jesus – specifically in each moment or facet of living. Jesus was led by the Spirit of God, by the voice of Father, not by scripture. “you search the scriptures thinking that they will bring you eternal life but they are a testimony of Me” (my paraphrase). Jesus was trying to get people to return to the “tabernacle of David” type of life. That is a place where you are closed up in a tent with the Lord and the only opening is up, it has no roof. It is not about an open heaven but being intimate with God and in a place where you could die without His acceptance. David was not a priest, he broke all the religious rules to be in that tent with the arc of the covenent alone with God. Yet The Word tells us that is the temple He is going to rebuild in the end. Not Solomon”s Temple, a building that the Lord never wanted. He wants to live in and with us, He is going to cause us to be whom He created us to be when we surrender to intimacy and following.! Sandwiched in the midst of 1 Cor.12 and 14 is 13— this is not a powerless book like the Church has deemed it but a revelation of a “BETTER” way that will never fail; God’s Love. God’s love is the naturally supernatural expression of His presence. It always does that which man deems impossible. It is the miraculous! His power is manifest through His presence in us. Jesus says “the Son can do no miracles, it is the Father in me who does the miracles or works”. This reality was emulated by the life of the man Jesus living with God on earth — a God man, the first born of many brethren! God in man, man in God. He is the revelation of creation – a man created in His image and likeness living out the life man was created to live . — WE ARE ALSO ALL OF THE ABOVE! Jesus says He did nothing or spoke nothing on this earth unless He heard from Father- either that is true or not. If it is true and Jesus says we are, “sent just like Him” ( in the exact same likeness as He expressed with His life), then we need to wake up to the relationship and stop trying to dictate to God who we touch and what we do that He must bless. True trust rests. True love (God’s agape’) is an expression of living sold out for and to the relationship found in Jesus, expressed through our “rest in His promises,” fulfilling our purpose of revealing God in and through us to the world.
In Father’s Hand, neil