Three ‘Check Your Pulse’ Articles (A)
This past weekend, I came across three articles that are desperately needed. If you are human, you will need the first one. If you are a church going human you will need the first and second. If you are a Southern Baptist church going human you will need the first, second, and third. See below…
First, from Life of a Steward – “Do You Think About Your Death Often Enough?”
“When we know that our days on this earth are numbered, each one suddenly has a precious value. We’re inspired to work harder, to act more boldly, and to not waste a single second on anything other than the most God-honoring actions we could possibly take.
“A major cause of poor time stewardship is the mistaken belief that we’ll always have tomorrow. We can relax today, we can fool around today, we can be lazy today, we can procrastinate today, we can be selfish today, we can binge today, we can slack off today, we can neglect duties today – because there’s always tomorrow when we can get serious and catch up.
“We forget that the grains of sand slipping through the hourglass are in limited supply. That is, until we come to our senses and wonder where the years have gone.
“These innocent delays seem so wasteful and wicked when we view them in light of the brevity of life. Remembering our death will do much to keep us from living such wasted lives.”
“Studies show that new churches reach more people. An examination of established Southern Baptist churches revealed 3.4 baptisms per 100 resident members, but new churches average 11.7 baptisms per 100 members. It’s evident that starting new churches will lead more people to Christ.
“New churches also are needed to keep up with population growth. In 1820 there was one church for every 875 people in the United States. By WWI the ratio had dropped to one church for every 430 people. Today, there is only one church for every 6,194 people. In Canada the ratio is 1:123,971. Church planting has lagged behind population growth in North America for decades.
“The population of North America is 345 million, and at least 259 million do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ. It will require new churches to reach such a great and diverse population with the gospel.
“The message we share is a never-changing gospel; however, our methods must be contextualized to the people we are reaching. In other words, one-size-does-not-fit all. Each church has its own unique and distinct culture because of the people who make up that congregation.”
His concluding thoughts:
“Rather than complain about young leader involvement (or about those trying to increase their participation), let’s work together to change the trend. If this trend does not begin to change soon, messenger cards at check-in might give way to AARP cards (more than two-thirds of SBC messengers in Phoenix already qualified).
“This situation is also mirrored in local church life: No matter how faithful the older and middle-aged members are, the church will eventually die if there are no younger people participating.
“The statistics are clear for us — facts are still our friends. Not only are our annual meetings getting older, our total membership is in decline as are our conversions and baptisms. The trends do not point in a positive direction as it relates to the growth or sustainability of the SBC as it is now. I asked the question last year, “If the under-40 crowd is disappearing and some of the over-60 folks are retiring, who will lead in the future?”