That is not a 10k race…for those runner friends out there. I am writing of 10k as in 10,000, & the 1 is representative of 1 church.
We need 1 church for every 10,000 people, to be precise we need 1 church of 200 active members for every 10,000 people. This is the conclusion many have come to, including those in the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Why? Well let the folks at NPUC explain:
“A typical church of 200 active members will impact a maximum of 10k people (200 members x 50 contacts = 10k if there is no overlap).”
Now let me throw in this caveat that I believe to be absolutely 100% truth, and definitely verifiable through the stories of scripture. God could reach everyone with just 1 person. I don’t know how, but He could do it. And although that is true that is not the way God seems to work. In fact He seems to work in the way we would typically think of working, at least when it comes to numbers.
More people reach more people!
“The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” –Matthew 9:37-38
The idea is MORE laborers MORE reaping!
So yes God could reach everyone with just 1 person, but He has chosen to use people and to call for more people to help Him in reaching everyone. Which is the very reason why the statistic above is significant. For a church to truly impact 10,000 people it must have 200 soul winners, engaged members in its midst.
In most communities where there is an Adventist church of 500 or more folk will often ask, “Why do we need another church?” It doesn’t matter if the city is 20,000, 50,000, or 100,000+. A church of 500 or more is usually quite satisfactory to folk and again people ask, “Why do we need another church?” How do I know this? Because we have recently started another church (in my mind it is a campus, but to the community it is another church) The Ark a Seventh-day Adventist Christian Church, & because there is already a significant size church in our community, The Visalia Seventh-day Adventist Church, (740 members and growing) I have heard many times, “Why another church pastor?”
My answer is this:
Because 1 church cannot reach 125,000 people quick enough with the Adventist message (and yes I do believe in proselytizing) That is how many people there are in my city. Which would mean we need at least 12 churches of 200 soul winners to reach all 125,000+ people in our community.
What about in your community? How big is your city? Does your city have a population of 10,000 or more?
And if so…
Do you have an Adventist church? Are there 200 engaged–on fire, Jesus loving, people serving, Good News spreading–members in your church? Do you have enough churches & or enough members if your city is 20 thousand, 30 thousand, 40 thousand, 100,000, 500,000 people?
For most of you the answer will be NO!
How do I know? Because in the United States the mean size of a typical Adventist church is 215 members. That is good, except…there are only 4950 churches which in comparison to the population of the United States computes to just 1 church for every 63,267 people.
(Even if we took our total Adventist membership in the U.S. and divided it by 200 we would still only have 1 set of 200 people for every 58,900 people. Now probably wouldn’t be the right time to mention that only about half of all professed Adventists are “active” in their local churches right? Yeah that would be a much more dismal picture, so let’s at least let something be rose colored:)).
Back to our situation. In order to have 1 church for every 10k in the United States, we need 31,317 Adventist churches of at least 200 in the United States. So roughly, 26,350 more of our mean size (215) church.
So do we throw-up our hands and say impossible? Can’t be done? Do you remember that God that could reach everyone with just 1 that you were defending earlier when I was throwing-out numbers? Yes, He is still on the throne and He can very well do this! And He can very well do this through us!
Based on some quick adding and some quick math on my part. Let us state that there are about 750 churches with 300 members or more.
What if every church with at least 300 members, encouraged, taught, made a part of their culture, a membership tithe from the church. In other words if a church has 300 members they would ask 30 members to step out in faith and plant a church. If they have 400 members, 40, 500, 50…600 they plant two churches and send out two groups of 30.
What if a church such as Loma Linda University church made the decision to tithe their members. To call for 600 members to step out in faith and plant churches…what if they sent out 6 different teams of 100 to plant a church. 6 churches in 1 year. The same could be true for Pioneer Memorial Church, Pastor Dwight Nelson if he were to stand-up every year and teach every year his congregation to tithe themselves? Could they plant 3 churches of a 100 members every year? Why not? On faith they could!
Here is what I know about tithing financially. With an honest tithe I am never found in need! I believe the same would be true for our churches. If we stepped out in faith and said “we will not be satisfied with the inability to reach more people; we will not ignore the call to pray for more workers, we will actually send out more workers.”
If we were to do this, our churches would never be found wanting and the Adventist message would spread like wildfire!
Are you a Seventh-day Adventist believer? Then the above scenario is not something nice to throw around it is your calling!
“Upon ALL who believe, God has placed a burden of raising up churches.”
–Ellen G. White, Medical Ministry, p. 315