In the book Tuning Everyday Conversations into Gospel Conversations, Jimmy Scroggins, lead pastor of Family Church in West Palm Beach, Florida asks, “How many new disciples would you need to reach to turn back the lostness in your immediate area just 1 percent?” In one community I was studying there were 8050 people within a ten mile radius of a particular congregation. For them to turn back lostness in their community just 1 percent would mean reaching 80.5 people. I guess the last person would be really short. But you get the picture. Think about the difference that could be made in your congregation if 80 people were added. Some churches would more than double.
1. That would be a worthy, God-honoring goal. What if we started crying out to God for our 1 percent? He’s already told us to do that (Matthew 9:38). It’s not presumptuous for us to ask God to do what He has already told us to do.
2. It would require training. Scroggins said, “Leaders of multiplying movements train new believers to go and immediately begin sharing the gospel.” He adds, “For too long, we told new believers that their first steps of obedience were to give, serve, and join a group. We moved them from converted to comfortable as quickly as possible.” Ouch! Ed Stetzer rightly pointed out that one of the casualties of the post-programming church has been evangelism training.
3. It would require a willingness to let go. In many churches an influx of new believers would be unsettling, but is the objective of church really our comfort? I’m pretty sure it’s not. To cultivate a movement you have to be OK with someone sitting in “your pew.” Think of what it must have been like in the first church when more than 3,000 were added on one day. Think of how they had to innovate to disciple new believers. Think about what a lay movement that entailed!
4. It would radically change families and communities. Instead of bemoaning the brokenness of our communities what if we saw God healing and blessing families? God’s answer for radical transformation has always been the Gospel!
5. We’d be forced to reckon with our sedentary outreach. Frankie (my wife) and I joked recently about overcoming our sedentary evening to drive over to Dunkin’ Donuts. Let’s face it, many of our churches have lost the willingness to get up and go out into our communities. We have lost our intentionality about obeying the Great Commission.
6. TAKE THE ONE PERCENT CHALLENGE! Discover how many people live in your community. We can help with this using MissionInsite Software. Establish a goal of reaching your 1%! Embrace the scariness! Start a movement! But don’t stop there. Make it a way of life.