Do you care?

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I’m not a bright guy, so I like when people put ideas into terms that connect with me. In fact, I don’t just like it, I appreciate it. Last night Bob Roberts — a guy who could easily talk over my head — did just that. He laid out the reality of Christendom today.

The Church is expanding greatly in Asia. It’s exploding in Africa. The growth in South America is amazing.

The  Church in North America, Australia and Western Europe is stagnant at best. In many places, it’s decreasing in size. And that’s where we live.

Does that bother you? Do you care? Enough to do something about it?

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5 Responses to “Do you care?”

  1. rand Says:

    I’m here at Engage too…wish more people were here as this is really good. It is getting my attention and my desire up to share the hope I have in Christ.
    One thing that just spoke to me, (I knew this, but it’s great to hear and have it put on my heart) people are receptive to faith, to religion as so many other faiths are growing in America…so why is Christianity not leading the way? It’s us, Christians, aren’t sharing our faith. People all around us are looking for a life change, a real faith. I need to embody that but more importantly, I need to share that through the relationships I have and will make an effort to start.

  2. David Troublefield Says:

    The wintry weather today has kept some away from the Engage conference (my in-laws set out this morning from Nocona for the meeting; came upon a tractor-trailer wreck, took the driver to the ER and are still there with him). And, some are of the opinion that the last thing Texas Baptists need is ANOTHER meeting ABOUT evangelism.

    For me, the secret is: there is NO secret. Every Christian over 20 years of age probably has a good idea of what he’s supposed to do in evangelistic service to the Lord and his community–we simply fail to sustain the doing of it. Working together, we certainly can find the way as in days gone by.

    Ones at the conference: get the most from it that you can, take it home to share with others, then get busy. Everyone else: just get busy!

    David Troublefield
    Minister of Education
    Lamar Baptist Church
    Wichita Falls, TX
    david@lbcwf.org

    ARTICLE EXCERPT (jon.randles@bgct.org for entire article):

    “It’s likely that people reading this article also have read many church growth ‘factoids’ over the years and considered them with a bit of skepticism —and for good reason, as it’s cautioned that 90% of statistics can be made to say anything 50% of the time! Still, listed below are ten recent statements from church growth experts about conditions of the world and the nation to which Baptist General Convention of Texas churches seek to minister evangelistically in the name of Christ. Read the list for the view its gives of Great Commission efforts being made now:

    • One in 10 people in the world is an active Christian (in 6 million Christian churches)
    • 90,000 people become Christians daily worldwide (20,000 in Africa; 15,000 in India)
    • 35% of Korea’s population is Christian (56% of Russia’s and 15% of Indonesian’s)
    • Largest English-speaking mission field in the world: United States of America
    • 100 million Americans are unchurched (in no religious services during last 6 months)
    • American churches on average: need 85 members to win one soul for Jesus Christ
    • Each day, 411 Americans convert to Islam, 872 become Mormons (Buddhism growing)
    • 69% of all SBC congregations were plateaued/declining numerically in 2006 (30,470)
    • 2006: 27,521 of 44,223 SBC congregations reported 0-5 baptisms (274 reported 100+)
    • 11 million Texans are unchurched, but one in 10 Texans is a BGCT Texas Baptist . . .

    “. . . It’s true that the list above doesn’t tell the whole evangelism story in the world today, but the message seems clear anyway that: (1) a great harvest is being reaped outside of the United States because non-Christians in other countries are responding in incredible numbers with repentance toward God and faith in Christ as the good news about Jesus is shared intentionally by missionaries or other believers in relevant and relational ways; (2) similar potential for spiritual awakening exists in the U.S. among its tens of millions who also are unsaved but curious; and, (3) the average American Christian and church functions far less intentionally, relationally, and relevantly in evangelism than do believers living for the Lord Jesus elsewhere in the world. The info above suggests, too, that future generations of lost Americans will be won by some gospel even if that ‘good news’ has nothing at all to do with Jesus Christ—and that prospect simply isn’t acceptable to any serious follower of Him . . .

    “. . . A 2006 study by LifeWay Research confirms leaders of America’s evangelical Protestant churches say that evangelism, fellowship, Bible study, worship, ministry, and disciple-making are the focus whether those congregations sponsor small groups or traditional Sunday School classes. However, the same research indicates that, when it comes to the New Testament function of evangelism, those groups and classes are almost ‘all hat and no cattle’ as relatively few evangelical Protestant congregations in the U.S. give evangelism done via their small groups or Sunday School classes a level of priority anywhere close to that given to the functions of Bible study or fellowship (Bible study is the top priority of their groups: 64% of Sunday School churches and 41% of small group churches; outreach/evangelism is the top priority: 5% of Sunday School churches and 6% of small group churches). Contrast that finding with previous Southern Baptist Convention efforts, for example, which sought much more balance between small group Bible study and evangelism (Million More in ’54; Church Growth Spiral ministry model of Andy Anderson; Arthur Flake’s ‘Know the possibilities . . . Go after the people’) and the tremendous results of doing so, and it isn’t hard to understand why the baptism totals of evangelical Protestant bodies such as the SBC and its affiliating state conventions trend downward over the last ten years or longer.

    “Though it’s reported that the ministries of the typical Christian congregation in the U.S. have grown ‘out of touch, superficial and old-fashioned’ or not applicable to a post-modern secular society, respected church growth consultant Bill Easum insists that both Sunday Schools and small groups can be effective, and he believes that ‘it won’t matter which—Sunday School or small groups—we used . . . the point is, do what works’ to win the targeted American culture in any region of the country with a vision and strategy ‘for reaching people at the point of their real need and working with God to see a transformation effected in their lives.’ Efforts as uncharacteristically intentional as Easum suggests will be necessary (the Great Commission demands it, and the Great Commandment describes it)—efforts of evangelistic small groups in Texas . . .

    “. . . There was only one Lone Ranger—and to bring law and order to the Old West, even he needed the help of Tonto, and Silver and Scout, and local sheriffs, and a fan in each cleaned-up Texas town to answer the question, ‘Who was that masked man?!’ Folks in small groups and Sunday School classes willing to commit to it require a team for their continual gospel-telling efforts, too. It’s certainly possible for individual believers to share the good news about the Lord Jesus on their own and each one should, but the fact is that for the Smiths and Joneses and Garcias and other American families by the millions to begin to turn in greater numbers to Christ, they must hear personal invitations to come to Him for eternal salvation (Romans 10:13-15)—and, for those invitations to be issued more efficiently and widely-extended than now, churches’ small groups must function as high performance teams (see the New Testament’s teamwork examples) . . .

    “. . . Evangelistic small groups, wherever and whenever they meet, will produce Christian disciples. They also will grow rather quickly—a blessing and a curse, if the ratio of worker-to-participants in the group isn’t maintained at a level of about one to five. When too few qualified workers are available to serve and lead those who compose the group, a small group or Sunday School class will fail to serve others outside the group as it can and other new small groups cannot be formed—causing more failure and beginning or perpetuating a church’s decline. Keeping small groups small is essential as many more of them are started in coming years; evangelism by Texas Baptists today requires the sustainability in groups which are small—both in size and in worker-to-participant ratio . . .

    “. . . When God invented Texans and others who got here as fast as they could, He made friendly folks—Baptists, pastors, or otherwise—willing to speak up with a ‘Howdy, pardner!’ and offering a helping hand. In a nation where it’s possible for a person to live at the same address for decades but never to meet his next door neighbors, nor to know that he’d met even ten members of any nearby Christian church, it remains important that Texas Baptists be outspoken and proud—proud of their amazing Savior Jesus and outspoken about Him where they live. A God-fearing, Bible-believing, faith-filled, people-loving, soul-winning Texas Baptist is a truly wonderful thing to behold; Texas Baptist small groups like that, telling daily the good news they understand from the Holy Bible they have in Christ, are even more magnetic (cf. John 4:13-15).

    “In his day, the Roman philosopher Pliny the Younger could envision his homeland once again a thoroughly pagan one. Pliny had requested via a letter to Rome’s early second-century emperor Trajan his official counsel about the judgment Pliny should execute upon confessing Christians in his region, admitting that the lives and witness of those believers in Jesus had had a profound effect on society. But, due to the persecutions he’d enacted, Pliny was able to report to the Caesar, ‘the temples which were almost deserted begin again to be frequented; . . . and the victims for the altars are now readily sold, which, a while ago, were almost without purchasers.’ Trajan’s letter in reply actually advises more restraint, but Pliny did offer that ‘a multitude of men might be reclaimed, if only the door to repentance was left open’—open, Pliny meant, for the fearless Christ-followers in that century to backslide through to silence and safety. While some took the easy way offered, others more serious about their Lord suffered like Him instead and witnessed to the grace of God in their cruel deaths. An awesome example is set by these for Baptists in Texas, and by many Texas Baptists since them: Christian Baptists in Texas simply must speak up! Texas Hope 2010 won’t even be “Hope 2008¾” without it. Evangelism by Texas Baptists today requires Baptists who are evangelistic—and say so.”

  3. John Says:

    David, thanks for sharing about the situation with the accident and your in-laws. Obviously, that’s something we can be praying about today.

  4. David Troublefield Says:

    Thanks, John.

    My father-in-law is pastor of Bonita Baptist Church outside of Nocona–and, honestly, the most minister that I have ever known! He and my mother-in-law debated about making the trip, for several reasons–apparently, the Lord had someone for them to meet and bless near home today instead!

    David Troublefield
    Minister of Education
    Lamar Baptist Church
    Wichita Falls, TX
    david@lbcwf.org

  5. graceshaker Says:

    i met a man
    he changed my life
    and still is

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