Sad Statistics and Some Answers-Part Seven
How Accessible are Churches?
40% of Christian churches are virtually impossible to reach by telephone according to Year 2000 Statistics from George Barna Research Group.
This statistic is absolutely unbelievable. In the year 2000 with all the technology there is (voice mail, cell phones, pagers, e-mail, computers), 40% of Christian churches are virtually impossible to reach by telephone? The most unbelievable statistic is probably the most accurate of all the statistics we have discussed in the last 6 weeks. All the other statistics are subjective-based upon feelings, beliefs, viewpoints, etc. It is real easy to test this statistic. Call 100 churches and see how many actual people you reach, let alone answering machines.
I heard of one church that no longer uses an answering machine because the needy use to leave messages asking for financial help. They were tired of getting the calls so they disconnected the answering machine. I guess they did not care that 90% of the people who called the church for some other reason. (And I am sure there was some sincere, legitimate needs of the 10% who called).
Or how many churches are there that have answering machines but do not call back the people who left messages. Or what about churches that you can reach, but it is almost impossible to get an appointment with the pastor or staff person. You are told there should be an opening 3-4 weeks later. What if you are going through a major crisis that week?
Churches may defend their not accessible because they are too busy working with their own people and so they do not have time for strangers. I thought we are suppose to be like Jesus. He found time for more than his disciples. In fact how did his disciples learn to minister? By being with him as he ministered to strangers.
Guess what? The church is you and me. So we all are at blame. How accessible are you. Is your life so busy that you have no time for the lost, needy, or the hurting? How accessible is your home for those in need? If your neighbor knocked on your door, would you be available? Or even stronger words, if your child or teenager knocked on your bedroom door would you be available? Or would your child hear "get back with me in 3-4 weeks"?
Why is the second or third leading cause of death in teenagers suicide? Why do so many people chose Internet pornography, drugs and alcohol, gambling, food addictions, etc. to bring them 'peace'? Because the church (body of Christ) has not been accessible or has been too condemning. Because the church (you and me) has not been where the people are at. How about us reaching them before they make a phone call to the 40% of the churches that are not accessible by phone.
Instead of a hurting person going to the local bar just to talk, how about inviting that hurting neighbor over for a cup of coffee and listening to their story and offering to be a friend to them and to pray for them.
And by the way, is the answering machine turned on?
This ends the series on sad statistics. The next series will be unique because for the first time in 1-1/2 years we will be discussing a doctrinal subject. "Left Behind"
To the world, you may just be somebody...but to somebody, you may be the world.
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