Can we reach everyone?
April 27 2001 by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-Treasurer

Can we reach everyone? | Friday, April 27, 2001

Friday, April 27, 2001

Can we reach everyone?

By Jim Royston BSC Executive Director-Treasurer Raleigh's daily newspaper (News & Observer) recently published several articles related to the explosive and changing population growth in North Carolina. One story characterized our state as becoming more like California and less like Mayberry, with all apologies to Andy, Barney, Opie and Aunt Bee. Our rural roots are being paved over by four-lane highways and discount store parking lots. We've been discovered. Who benefits from all of this growth? Our first answer is probably the developers and the people who hope to sell products and services to the newcomers. But what about the churches? More people available should mean more opportunities for ministry. Whole new mission fields have just been placed within driving distance of our sanctuaries. Most of us can now do "world" missions and never leave the county.

Will we be up to this challenge? As hundreds (even thousands) of newcomers move into your community - many who speak a different language or even worship a different "god" - what is your church's strategy? What is your state convention's strategy?

There is no one, easy set of answers to these questions. As other sections of our country have experienced similar explosive growth in years past - even within our Southern Baptist land - we have failed to keep pace with the cultural and population changes. There is no exact model we can imitate.

Repeating what others have done will probably not get us where we want to go. What can we do? First, new people often respond better to new churches, or to new church services within existing churches. Everyone doesn't enjoy our kind of music and preaching. Only the gospel matters, everything else is tactics, to paraphrase Thomas Bandy, nationally known consultant on church growth, in a recent interview. The traditional church, Bandy adds, can provide relevant outreach to that segment of the population that remains traditionally loyal to the church in which they were brought up. All others (the majority) don't understand or care what our churches are all about.

Second, we've got to strengthen our base - and our base is the local church, not the association, state convention or national convention. Associations and conventions only exist to serve and strengthen churches. There is no such thing as a strong denomination made up of weak churches. New, non-traditional churches need older, traditional churches to provide leadership and support. It's very difficult to go it alone.

Can we reach everyone? Your church or mine cannot do it, but a variety of churches can. We must provide choices.

Again Bandy: "The motivation for evangelism is simple. Do you love people outside the church even more than people inside the church? Do you want to give your very best to those folks out there, so that they can have abundant life? And are you willing to stake the parsonage, the pension plan, the stained glass and the pipe organ to do it?"

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
4/27/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jim Royston , BSC Executive Director-Treasurer | with 0 comments
Filed under:

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.