I read an article by Barna Group that asks this:
“[Note: the survey question asked, Many churches and faith leaders want to contribute positively to the common good of their community. What does your community need, if anything, that you feel churches could provide?]”
|Are we keeping them out?
“Addressing poverty and helping the poor was the most common top-of-mind response Americans offered as to how churches can positively influence their communities (29%). This includes helping the needy, poor and disabled, distributing food and clothing, and assisting the homeless.”
21% of the un-churched surveyed couldn’t think of what the church could contribute to the community and 14% said the church could simply provide a place for worship. I have found that there are 224 and a half million professed Christians in this country. They meet in 220,000 churches. As I’ve written before there are about 3.5 million homeless.
If only half of the homeless want help, and my experience would show it is less, then for every homeless there are 128 Christians to help. This would be 8 homeless per church. Of course a large church could be expected to do more than a small church.
So Rick Warren’s church in Saddleback, California with its 20,000 people could care for about 160 homeless and a church that has a mere 100 members would care for 1. You can see that while the magnitude of the problem is huge, the resources are plentiful. The only problem, is that it is hard to find someone who cares. I suppose that the words of Christ are as true today as then, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”
The un-churched have an expectation of us. It isn’t wrong. I think they have drawn the right conclusion. Can you see that all the evangelism you try will face an unseen barrier? They believe in their deepest parts that our religion should be more than church meeting and Christian blogs. We must show them more; the heart of the Father; the love for the broken; care for the poor.
Evangelism should be given a proper context, love that helps those in need, and a clear vision of the same supported by what they already believe; helping the poor. This is the greatest thing we could do with our lives. This is supported in the book of James:
James 1:27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. NIV