Weep, Weep, and Pray until Your Praying Turns to an Open Mouth for the Gospel

Monday Discussions on Mission

Thom Rainer is reporting that a survey reveals the following about American Christians. I haven’t had time to read all of the article but for the purposes of our discussion today, let’s assume that the numbers are right.

Only 21% of active church members
invite anyone to church
in a year,
only 2% invite an unchurched person.

This is further proof that there is a deep-seated illness in the American Church. Jesus must have been lying in Acts 1:8, when he said that we would become His witnesses when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. (I speak as one who has lost his mind.) The New Testament says that if we don’t have the Spirit, we don’t belong to Christ (Romans 8:9).

Look at those numbers again and then let’s lay out some facts and implications:

  1. Jesus tells the truth.
  2. Jesus says when the Holy Spirit comes upon us we become witnesses.
  3. Paul says that if we don’t have the Spirit, we don’t belong to Christ.
  4. Therefore, 100% of believers are supposed to be witnesses.
  5. Yet, only 21% of Christians ever invite anyone to church, and …
  6. When they do, only 2% of them invite non-Christians.

There are other ways to witness of course (praise God). But let’s be honest, the easiest and most common witnessing efforts by our people in our current attractional patterns of evangelism is parishioners inviting people to church. Two percent is a far cry from the one hundred percent predicted by Jesus.

Brothers, we have got to solve this problem.

Look at those numbers again.  Weep. Then make Luke 10:2 a matter for prayer everyday. Join me in prayer each morning at 10:02. Stop whatever you’re doing and join me at the feet at the Lord of the harvest.

© Marty Schoenleber, Jr. 2010

6 thoughts on “Weep, Weep, and Pray until Your Praying Turns to an Open Mouth for the Gospel

  1. 1. You are in the pda@1002, set to repeat until the trumpet calls
    2. This would make a good group on FB
    3. I suspect that these numbers could be interpreted to indicated that the “come to us” model is not an effective evangelism tool.
    4. We need to be hammering on the concept of a Personal Mission Field as the way to fulfill Act 1:8. My evangelism should take place everywhere I go and with everyone whom I connect.

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    1. John,

      I will meet you before the throne brother. I’ll try the Facebook idea. Your third point, I think is right. It may have been effective at some point, but the culture has changed and it doesn’t work now. I agree on your fourth point too. Our people need to be more aware of their opportunities and should be praying for boldness.

      I think we (leaders) need to also work harder at training people in 1) how to seize the opportunities that are in front of them, 2) how to witness by giving testimony, 3) how to witness with simple value statements, 4) how to move the conversation towards the cross, 5) how to position themselves as the neighborhood Chaplin, etc.

      We need an intensely local revolution.

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  2. Ouch! I needed that! As much as it hurts, I appreciate it, Marty. Proverbs 27:6
    Action so far: forwarded your post to both my pastors, and have a plan to invite some folks to my church this week.
    May the Lord continue to grow your ministry and multiply your voice!

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  3. Here is a quote from Willard’s, “The Divine Conspiracy”.

    >>
    Suppose our failures occur, not in spite of what we are doing, but precisely because of it. Suppose, to illustrate, that the educators who guide our school systems seriously considered the possibility that the low attainments of American schoolchildren are not in spite of what is done with them in school, but largely because of what they are taught and how they are taught. Or suppose that our national legislature began to think that our failure to come to grips with the national debt or violence in the streets is not in spite of what the legislature does, but because of it. It may be hard to take such a suggestion seriously, but to do so might well provide a basis for genuine solutions to problems that now seem unsolvable.
    <<

    Is it possible that the failure referred to is a direct result of the gospel that has been preached from the pulpits? Is it possible that most evangelicals see themselves as going to heaven when they die and don't see the kingdom of God as a present reality? Is it possible that they have "bought" fire insurance by believing (mental assent to) a few points of propositional truth, all the while seeing no real connection between the living Christ and how they live their daily life today in the kingdom of God?

    I think one part of the problem is we have over-emphasized some aspects of the gospel of the kingdom. One can so emphasize the atonement and forgiveness of sins to the exclusion of the resurrection life. Others may not agree, but I see this as part of the problem.

    The first five years of my life in Christ I sat in a church and heard a gospel of how you can avoid hell by having your sins forgiven through believing in Jesus. Heaven or Hell, You Better deal with your Sin was preached from every book of the Bible. Learning to follow him, becoming transformed by the power of the Spirit, growing in grace, abiding in Christ, living from His resources…none of that was taught. There was a congregation of over five hundred that heard the same thing every Sunday. In my discussions with others I often hear similar accounts.

    I won't belabor the point but you can imagine what kind of "Christians" that gospel produces. It's the spiritually stunted kind that have no idea what it means to live in Christ, to be a disciple, to glory in his exaltation.

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