I know it can be easy to make assumptions about how many people may know Jesus around us, especially here in the Bible belt. In order to help our church get a better grasp of the enormity of the need for gospel work in our community, we spent some time and money to get up-to-date numbers and statistics for our city.
For example, here in Edmond, Oklahoma, there are 27,000 people who claim no relationship with Jesus. To help us realize how significant that is, we pointed out that this number is larger than the 26,000 Mennonite Brethren in the entire United States. That’s right, there are more people who claim no relationship with Jesus in Edmond then there are Mennonite Brethren in America!
It was also helpful for us to realize just how open most people are to faith conversations, despite many assumptions to the contrary. Roughly 80 percent of non-Christians say they are open to talk about faith, and among millennials the number climbs to 90 percent. Amazingly, 83 percent of non-believers even said they would attend church if a family member or friend invited them.
In order to help these numbers move us to action, we adopted a focus for the year called, “3-2-1-GO.” Throughout the year, we’re asking our church to address the great need for Jesus around them by:
3 – Praying for three people who don’t know Jesus
2 – Inviting two people to join them on a Sunday
1 – Engaging in one faith conversation with a non-believer
Go – By being faithful in this, we’re helping fulfill God’s call to each of us to, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Breaking this down has been helpful for our church to recognize the need for Jesus around us while also practically helping us do something about it. We kicked off this focus with a Sunday message giving statistics while looking at Jesus’ call to discipleship. We also made graphics, flyers and posters to keep this challenge in front of people throughout the year. We continue to reference this focus, especially leading up to significant events, such as Easter or women’s activities.
While we know God is the only one capable of saving people, we want to make sure we’re doing our part by letting our friends and neighbors know there is a God willing and able to save them.
Jeremy Jordan is the lead pastor of Cross Timbers Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. Jeremy loves the church and is passionate about helping the people of the church connect with and reach out to their friends and neighbors with the good news of Jesus. Outside of Church, Jeremy can be found hanging out with his wife Amy and their 5 children, or perhaps out in the woods during hunting season.