A hymn from my youth talks about the church marching like a mighty army with banners held high. That seems a pretty apt description when you stop to think that in America today, we have 350,000 churches, 251 seminaries, 600,000 ministers, 5,000 parachurch organizations, and a Christian book and music industry that boasts $1 billion in annual revenue.* That is some serious output. There are countries in the world that couldn’t assemble an army that big.
But I have a question.
What does all that Christian muscle mean to the person in the cubicle next to yours at work? Or the neighbor lady walking her dog past your house? Or the new guy who just joined your Saturday morning golf foursome? Or the struggling single mom who waits on you at the Chinese restaurant?
It’s easy, and perhaps comforting, to think of all the things the church is doing to try to change the world. But the real question is, what are you doing? Sure, you go to church and try to live a good life. But how intentional are you when it comes to actually impacting the lives of the lost people you rub shoulders with every day?
Forget the fact that there so many churches and preachers and missionaries toiling in the fields that are white unto harvest. That means nothing to the lost, discouraged soul who mows your grass or dry cleans your shirts or takes your order at the local delicatessen.
No person is really strong in the faith who doesn’t carry a burden for the lost.
* Stats from The Hartford Institute for Religion Research and the book, Going Public With Your Faith, by William Carr and Walt Larimore.