During the course of the conversation the question came up if there really was a need for more churches in Berea. After all it seems as if there’s more than enough churches not just in Berea but also in Richmond and throughout Madison County.
As we continued to talk Ronnie pulled up some numbers on his iPhone and began to share them with me. I’d like to share them with you and them make some observations about what those numbers mean not only for Grace Community Church as we strive to minister to Berea but for all of the churches in Madison County that strive to preach a Biblical gospel.
First of all let’s start with the the total population of Madison County. (Please note these numbers are based upon a 2010 study so they may not at this time be 100% accurate) As of 2010 the total population of Madison County was 82,916.
The next important number is 32,147. That number represents the total number of people who claim to be an “adherent” to a church or a particular denomination in Madison County.
That means that on any given Sunday 62% of our friends, neighbors and co-workers are not in church and I would venture to guess that a large percentage of that number would not consider themselves to be Christians.
I would dare say based upon my years of experience in the church that you could easily increase the 62% number by at least 10% meaning that three quarters of the people in the county that we live in our not actively attending church.
Now let’s look at this from another angle. As of 2010 there are 114 churches in Madison County.
Here is the question we must seriously consider is 114 churches enough to reach Madison County? Let’s do the math. Let’s say that God is gracious and sends revival to us. Let’s say that one half of the 82,916 (41,458) residents of Madison County came to faith in Christ. That would mean that each one of the 114 churches would be need to be able to handle on average 363 people!
But let’s bring down even farther. There are currently 44 churches in the county who are affiliated in some degree with the Southern Baptist Convention. Each Southern Baptist Church would then need to be equipped and ready to handle are you ready for this – 942 people!
Let me ask you – do you think there is a need for more gospel preaching, disciple making churches in Berea, Richmond and Madison County?
What do the numbers tell us? As my brother in law Rick Miracle likes to say “Facts are our friends” and in this case the facts don’t lie and the story they tell is not a happy one.
We’re losing the battle in Madison County! The numbers are almost mind boggling ! You could more than fill Rupp Arena with the number of people around us who are not in church and probably lost and will die apart from Christ!
We need to evaluate what we are doing and better yet what we are not doing if there is any hope for us to begin to reverse these numbers.
We need to evaluate the approach we are taking in evangelism. I know lots of number of salvation and baptisms are reported each year, but where are these new converts? Is our evangelistic efforts really winning people to Christ?
We need to evaluate our efforts in making disciples. The goal of evangelism is not a number to report but a disciple to be made. A true honest to goodness follower of Christ!
We who share a common statement of faith and desire to see the Father glorified through the redemption of the lost through His Son Jesus Christ need to set aside some of our more minor differences and begin to work together and more closely for the cause of Christ.
Remember “facts are our friends” but it’s up to us to take these numbers seriously, and then take a sober look at what we are doing and make the necessary adjustments if we are to stem the slide not only in Berea, Richmond and Madison County but in our world.
What say you? You’re comments are welcomed below.