Tzedakah Ministries wrote an article for the Occasional Bulletin of the Evangelical Missiological Society in the Spring 2009 issue (beginning on page 5) entitled “X + Gospel = World Evanglization” about what was needed if Christians and churches really hoped to reach the world with the Gospel message of Messiah Jesus. The primary argument of this article was that if we as the Christian community needed to return to the Biblical approach outlined in the missiological handbook of the Book of Acts and in the Pauline methodology set out in Romans 1:16 … to the Jew first.
Today, I saw a Facebook video from a pastor about the need for church planting with the following statistical and frightening information …
- The United States is the largest mission field in the Western Hemisphere
- The United States in the fifth largest mission field in the world
- According to George Barna, the number of unchurched has almost doubled from 1991 to 2004 and half of all American churches did not add any members through “conversion” last year
- In 2004, there were only 11 churches for every 10,000 Americans
- 80-85% of American churches are considered on the downside of their lifecycle (Win Arn)
- 75% of churches will close their doors within the next 30 years (Bill Easum)
Tzedakah Ministries has shared this video on its Facebook Page so that anyone can see the video for themselves. However, I want to share one interesting quote from the video from the world-renowned missiologist C. Peter Wagner:
“Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.”
C. Peter Wagner is absolutely correct. However, I would like to add a few corollary thoughts to Dr. Wagner and the video I saw this morning …
PERHAPS … We would also be more successful in church planting if we returned to the model that Paul established in the Book of Acts (9:20-22; 13:13-52; 14:1-5; 18:7-11; and 19:8-10) and wrote about in Romans 1:16 when he called FIRST for going to the synagogue since the Gospel is to the Jew first.
PERHAPS … If we did follow the Pauline model, we might once again turn the world upside down for the Gospel (Acts 17:6).
God indeed has an interesting synergy. I saw this video this morning and had those corollary thoughts. A few moments later, Tzedakah Ministries received an email from a wonderful Christian lady who is a prayer warrior for evangelism. In this email, she shared with the ministry a sentence or two that ties this entire post together.
“In my almost 91 years of life, I never remember any SS teacher or minister or deacon or anyone connected with the Church admonish[ing] me to pray for the Jews so your good paper brought some new thoughts to my mind and questions….We have Baptist[s] on about every other corner!! Many other Churches too but we are all noticing a decrease in attendance and wondering if this might be the “falling away” mentioned in the Bible for end times. What do you think? I remember you visiting me and what a joyful time! If you can work out a visit with our Church again I would like to do it again, tho I am not as young as I was then.”
So … how are we going to grow the Christian community in 2013? Let’s return to the first century model of beginning in the synagogue. Paul and the others turned the world upside down then and it would work today!