Mission of the Church


Luke 19:1-10 NLT


1 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.

2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was one of the most influential Jews in the Roman tax-collecting business, and he had become very rich.

3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowds.

4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree beside the road, so he could watch from there.

5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. "Zacchaeus!" he said. "Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today."

6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

7 But the crowds were displeased. "He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner," they grumbled.

8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!"

9 Jesus responded, "Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham.

10 And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost."


Mark 16:15, 20 NKJV


15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.


Today I want us to fasten our eyes on the topic of EVANGELISM. Evangelism is defined as the mechanism a person uses to convert others to the Christian faith.


The seeker-sensitive movement isn't working. Even Bill Hybels admits the method of gearing church toward non-Christians is a mistake. After years of effort, thousands of hours of research and millions of dollars committed to streamlining the 'church experience' to where it will be palatable to sinners, it seems like the biblical method is still the best. Thom Rainer knows this more exactly than many others, and he does the math for you in divulging Surprising Insights From the Unchurched and Proven Ways to Reach Them.


Statistics from the book, “Surprising Insights From The Unchurched & Proven Ways to Reach Them.” This was written by Thom S. Rainer.


Rainer takes the research further than simple statistics about the unchurched though. He also profiles leaders at churches which are effective in reaching out to the unchurched. He calls these churches "effective evangelistic churches," which means that they have at least 26 conversions per year, and a conversion ratio (members: annual conversion) of less than 20:1 (the national average is, at 85:1, sobering to say the least). Through Rainer's research, you can learn the characteristics of effective leaders, and catch the vision that they share for evangelism. He includes several appendices to help you gain this vision, and to get your church where it can be effective.


Only 41%of Americans attend church services on a typical weekend. Each new generation becomes increasingly unchurched.


Builder Generation (born before 1946) – 51% are churched

Baby Boomers (born between 1946 to 1964) – 41% are churched

Baby Busters (1965 to 1976) – 34% are churched

Bridgers (1977 to 1994) – less than 30% are churched


Less than 4% of American Christian churches are growing. Lateral movement and growth does not count.


U.S. Unchurched Population is 160 Million


Findings:

 

         Most unchurched would prefer to attend church on Sunday mornings

         82% of the unchurched were at least ‘somewhat likely” to attend church if invited.

         Most of the unchurched feel guilty about not having attended church.

         Less than 20% of the unchurched have EVER been invited to church.

         Most of the unchurched have positive views about Pastors, Christians, and the church.

         A certain type of direct evangelism seemed to be the most effective.

         The attitudes of the unchurched are not related to where they live, their ethnic or racial background, or their gender.

         The higher their level of income, the more resistant the attitude of the unchurched.

         The unchurched were deeply concerned about the spiritual welfare of their children.

         The unchurched are not anti-church.

         Over 17 million people will probably accept Christ if presented the gospel. Another 43 million are close.

         79% of the unchurched believe in the existence of heaven: 70% believe in hell.

         September 11, 2001 taught us an important lesson about the unchurched.

         Most of the unchurched have a high view of the scripture.

         Most of the unchurched would rather talk to a layperson about spiritual issues than a minister.

         Most of the unchurched have a spiritual view of life.


TEN SURPRISES


1. Most of the unchurched prefer to attend church on Sunday morning if they attend.

2. Females are likely to be either the most receptive or the most antagonistic to the gospel.

3. Most of the unchurched feel guilty about not attending church.

4. 82% of the unchurched are likely to attend church if they were invited.

5. Very few of the unchurched have ever had anyone share with them how to become a Christian.

6. Most of the unchurched have a positive view about Pastors, Ministers, and the church.

7. Some types of “cold calls” are effective, many are not.

8. The unchurched would like to develop a real and sincere relationship with a Christian.

9. The attitudes of the unchurched are not correlated to where they live, their ethnic or racial background, or their gender.

10. Many of the unchurched are far more concerned about the spiritual welfare of their children than of themselves.


Luke 19:10 NKJV - "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."


Luke 19:10 NLT - And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost."


Joel 3:13-13 NKJV


13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow; For their wickedness is great."

14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.


Today I want to minister the simple gospel message. We have spent so much time doing everything in the world except leading others to Christ. Now, the Lord has brought us to a place of decision. What direction are we going to take?


The text for today is threefold. It involves the simplicity of the gospel found in the Roman Road scriptures.


FIRST


Romans 3:23 NKJV - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,


SECOND


Romans 6:23 NKJV - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


THIRD


Romans 10:9 NKJV - that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.


This is the effective way to lead others to the truths in Jesus Christ. My personal belief is that the closer we get to the Lord, the less apt we are to do things which are wrong.


James 4:8 NKJV states - Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.


We are living in more crisis than ever before. It is time for change.