Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ministry, church, statistics, and the U.S. as a mission field

I overheard a young first-year seminary student talking with a couple of others in the bookstore a few years ago. He was talking about his sense of call to ministry, and they asked him if he wanted to be a Pastor when he finished. Yes, he did, but he quickly (and haughtily) clarified: "I'll go overseas to do missions, of course. The U.S. is way too full of churches and Pastors."

This video is a good presentation of a bunch of amazing statistics about the church in the U.S., and in a matter of minutes utterly refutes this young man's jaded viewpoint. (HWPC folks, may I ask that you be sure to take a few minutes to watch this?) What's clear from the data presented is that the local church has never held a more important place in the community, even if most of that community doesn't realize it.

While it is clear that the statistics are presented with an intent to promote church planting, they offer great insight into the mission and importance of established churches, as well. In my view, those figures regarding the established church's less effective outreach are simultaneously an indictment and a call to action.

What struck you as the more interesting aspects of that presentation?

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