by THE NEW YORK TIMES (Published: October 13, 2006)
It is almost official. The Census Bureau announced yesterday that with a net gain of one person every 11 seconds, the nation’s population will reach 300 million at about 7:46 a.m. next Tuesday. The estimate assumes that, on average, an American is born every 7 seconds, one dies every 13 seconds and the nation gains an immigrant every 31 seconds. Tuesday, Oct. 17, happens to be the anniversary of the American victory in the Battle of Saratoga, the introduction of the curve ball, Al Capone’s imprisonment for tax evasion, the start of the 1973 Arab oil boycott and the 1989 San Francisco earthquake.
So, what’s it going to take to reach 300 million people with the gospel of Jesus Christ?
I’m not going to reach all 300 million and neither are you. We can’t do it alone. And it’s not going to happen through crusade evangelism or church outreach events (although some will come to faith through large-scale gospel proclamation).
I wonder what would happen if individual believers and their churches started to take ownership for sharing the good news of Jesus with every man, woman and child that lives in thier neighborhood or community.
Is it possible for your town to be transformed by the grace of God? Is it conceivable that every man, woman and child on your street, or in your neighborhood, or in your community could repeatedly receive the Good News about Jesus in a culturally appropriate way? Could this scenario be more than just a dream? Is it a realizable vision?
The answer to each of these questions is a resounding “yes!”
In order to reach 300 million Americans, we must saturate our neighborhoods with the Good News of the love of Jesus!
Dwight Smith (Saturation Church Planting International) has influenced my thinking in this area. He asks these questions:
1. Do you, as leaders, understand and accept that it is still God’s purpose for the Gospel to be taken to the whole world?
2. Do you, as leaders, understand and accept that your local church must be committed to take the Gospel to your locality?
3. As a team, try to imagine what God could do if your local church repeatedly gave every man, woman and child in your village, town or citym during the next few years, the opportunity to understand the Gospel and be reconciled to Christ.
4. As a team, try to visualize waht your community would look like if the Gospel of Christ influenced every social and political sturcture in its direction and decisions.
I believe that every believer needs to align themselves with the mission of Jesus and actively particiapte in missional activities to reach every man, woman and child in their neighborhood and community. That’s the only way that we will reach 300 million Americans.
It starts with taking ownership for reaching those who are geographically near us. What if our mission were to glorify God by nurturing, equipping and empowering all of God’s people for service, so that every man, woman and child has the opportunity to hear and understand the Gospel, and accept or reject the Lord Jesus as his or her personal Savior, and that every believer becomes actively involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission worldwide?