When speaking at a conference at Ridgecrest, No. Car., I met a retiree from northern Virginia. When I asked him about witnessing to the Muslims in the new mosque built in his county, he proudly stated that his church’s doors were open to all people. When I asked if anyone from his church had ever gone to the Islamic Center on the campus to evangelize, his eyes grew wide and he spat, “Certainly not!” But yet he fully expected a Muslim to come to him. Where’s the Great Commission mentality?
The time for filling out the ACP (Annual Church Profile) is coming in August. And with that in mind, I think it’s time every church considered itself on mission. We keep hearing it said that everyone is a missionary, quoting Jesus in John 21. But are we raising up missionaries to go after the lost? And are we measuring missionary methods? Unfortunately, AM Worship, Sunday School attendance, and even baptisms are attractional measures and not missional measures.
Of the 10 church plants reporting on ACP, 442 people were in AM worship on the average Sunday. Praise God that these church plants baptized 44 people! That ratio was roughly 10:1 – it took 10 to baptize one. In CABA’s legacy churches, that ratio was 20 to 1.
However, this reporting is recorded in an accepted system that is working a bit, but not even adding up to the 75,000 people moving into our nine counties during a decade’s time.
In a city of 1.5 million non-evangelicals and one million completely unchurched people, both models are not sufficient to bring spiritual transformation to the Cincinnati Area. Are we content with 500 baptisms per year while thousands die each year without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ?
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding” (2 Cor. 10:12 ESV).
Let me propose that missional churches want to track spiritual conversations engaged in, new believers who led someone else to Christ, money invested in evangelizing and missions support, new small groups begun, new small group leaders trained, new pastors trained, and multiple new churches started each year.
When we start measuring priorities that we need to improve, CABA will glorify God!
Mark Snowden is the Director of Missional Leadership (DOM) for the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.