Talk About Yer Unreached People Groups.....
I think there's a group we've been missing in our efforts to make disciples.
They are probably 15 million strong, and they run the gamut of types, from those who think religion is OK and want to "identify with it", but are not interested in participating, to those who've joined for some of the same reasons one might join a country club (prestige, identification, etc). And the best part is we don't even have to travel far to visit with them.
They are already members of SBC churches. But they are simply not involved. Not involved in the work of the church, or even in attending!
Let's look at some numbers:
- SBC Churches have, collectively, about 16 million members.
- On any Sunday, there are about 6 million people attending SBC churches.
- Most of the people attending SBC churches are members, but not all. In our church, around 20% are children who are not members, and then there are visitors too.
- If the previous thought is common, there are probably 4.8 million +/- SBC members in church.
- If our church is at all typical, I'm guessing perhaps 20% of the attenders are actually active in the operation and life of the church. Teaching, watching children, singing in the choir, leading a group, etc.
- Since the last number I heard from SBC sources was 37% the of membership number actually attending, then I'm believing that perhaps 30% is realistic, as stated above. And is close to what our church reflects.
- 20% of 30% is 6% of SBC members actually involved in the work of the body.
- The Bible clearly states that 100% are gifted for said work; "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit, for the common good."
1 Corinthians 12 is abundantly clear that we're all part of the body, and that every part is needed. How in the world is it possible that something on the order of 94% of folks who have joined SBC churches on our terms, placed themselves under our churches' authority, and are now in no way involved?
Being the curmudgeonly sort that I am, I'm tempted to blame it on the obvious. People who don't sense any obligation surrounding their membership ... beyond sending money, because everybody out there knows that's all churches are interested in ..... (/sarcasm). Cheap no-obligation membership. Preaching which expects nothing of the membership. Insecurity in members' faith, leading them to believe they aren't worthy, or able, to serve the King of Kings.
I had lunch with a friend, Sam Greene, today. We prayed for our server, after asking her if we could. She was so excited that we'd done that, and was so appreciative of the prayer, and it was so doggone much fun for Sam and me, that I asked him why in the world any believer wouldn't want to do that.
He didn't know, either.
The food was great, but what went on Spiritually was even better. Much better.
Judging by all I see .. including the surprise Cher revealed when we asked if we could pray for her .. and all the numbers reflected above, I'd say the biggest unreached people group is right around us. Right here in the USA.
In our churches.
Now there may well be groups bigger than 10 or 12 million, that are unreached. But I don't know any that ought to be easier to reach.
If we are willing to admit it, and if we care enough to try.