Joy of Gospel Access-Tim-HAMS Instr

What is happening with Jesus’ name in your city? There are multiple categories that are often listed, identifying the reason for (or not) the impact of the church in a city. Some look to the resources (re: money, buildings, assets) available. Some look to relevancy (re: decor, music, presentation, attractional ministry). I would submit the most important category is access.


When resources and/or relevancy is focused upon as the fulcrum of impact, there is a limit. Missiologists (I heard this from Alan Hirsch) indicate only 40% of the population in the US have the potential to enter the doors of our churches. That means statistically 60% of the people in your city cannot be reached through ministry within the four walls of your church. Access must be created by other means. I would submit this means those that name the name of Christ must build relational bridges with those around them.


That is the limit in the US. The issue is different in other countries. The number of people who name the name of Christ is so few in some countries that access is not an option. The image above illustrates different access ratios. If you think of a person knocking on doors, attempting to find someone to tell them about Jesus, it would take about 6 knocks here in the US. Our friends Dan and Katie moved last year to a country where it would take 30,000 knocks for that to happen. But that kind of context is another conversation.


The most important measure is not growth of the individual church, the increase in resources generated by your church compared to last year, or that your programs are judged more culturally clued in. The bottom line is if a gospel witness is available to more people in your city. In the NT, growth was not calculated by the number of people in attendance, but that the word of God was growing in a city and more people were naming the name of Jesus as Lord.


Leaders must continually challenge the mindset in the local church that sees the fulfillment of their guiding mandate as making the gospel accessible to all. That is not to say the expectation is for everyone to become a follower of Christ in a city. Salvation is not up to them. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. However, giving every man, woman, and child the opportunity to accept or reject Christ in a repeatable and accessible manner is the mandate of the local church. The church cannot define success by any other measure.


How does the idea of access change the way you think about the impact of the church in your city?


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