How does a person get from being a non-Christian to being a mature Christian who is living on mission and serving the body? It doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen by chance. There must be a plan in place.
I would argue the first step is identifying the problem.
Well, that’s easy, you might say. Who doesn’t know that evangelism and discipleship is needed. I mean, we have the Great Commission, don’t we? What else do we need?
And as much as I would agree with that point, when we take the time to stop and do the research and really look around, it becomes so much more prevalent and real in our lives.
In my community (about a 5-mile radius) there are somewhere around 122,000 people. Our best estimates based on the demographic research is that 65% (79,000) have little or no “spiritual involvement” in their life. That isn’t Christian spiritual involvement. That is any type of spiritual involvement. That probably doesn’t even include our CEOs, (Christmas and Easter Only). That probably doesn’t include the people who watch a religious service on their TV on Sunday morning. This is little to no spiritual involvement present in their lives day in and day out.
What this tells us is that even though we are in the “Bible belt,” though SWFL is by no means “Deep South” in my opinion, there are still thousands of people who I see every day that have no concept of Jesus, salvation and eternal life.
Let’s put that into perspective. These are the people whose house I drive by every day. Who I wait behind at Wal-Mart. Who sit beside me at Applebees. The same people that I stop at their garage sales and I buy their crap used treasures. Many of these people, nearly 7 out of 10, if they were to die today, would go to a place of eternal suffering and torment.
These are people who are stuck in the slough of despond, who are addicted, battered, hurting and in need of a Savior. These are people who look like me, talk like me, act like me and except for the grace of God, are exactly like me.
And the question remains, what can we do to point them to a loving, generous, gracious Savior. After all, that is the mission of the church. We are to go to all the world. That includes to the most outer parts of the globe, but it also means going across town and even across the street.
Next time we’ll take a look at what our front door is and how we get them there.