the weblog of Alan Knox

Shocking facts about the church…

Posted by on Mar 14, 2007 in blog links | 9 comments

Philip, at “Churchless Christians” (interesting blog title), has published some statistics about the church in New Zealand in a post called “12 Shocking Facts About the Church“. (By the way, I love the url for this blog: everyhomeachurch.blog.co.uk.)

While the facts are primarily about the church in New Zealand, I couldn’t help but notice that some also describe the church in the United States, at least the part of the church with which I am familiar. Just the top four “shocking facts” are eye opening:

1. the total cost of Christian outreach averages $330,000 for each and every newly baptised person.

2. New immigrants are creating an artificial impression that the Church is not declining in New Zealand

3. Many denominations have a huge backdoor. NZ Baptist churches, for example, are baptising the equivalent of nearly 10% of adult church members each year, yet there is little overall growth in the denomination.

4. The local church of 70 adults 10 years ago is still the local church of about 70 adults. In 10 years of hard work, prayer, programmes, and planning there has been little overall change.

So, do you think these “shocking facts” are characteristics of the church in the United States? If you are not from the United States, do these “shocking facts” describe the church in your area? Should we do anything about this? If so, what?


9 Comments

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  1. 3-14-2007

    All of the baptism and growth stuff sounds about right. But I have to question the money part. Though, I guess if you figure in the budgets and expenditures of “mega-churches,’ it’s probably about right. :(

  2. 3-14-2007

    The original article I got this from was written by my mate and fellow House Church Planter david Allis. This article was the lead article in the NZ Baptist Newspaper. In regards to the $330 000 mentioned, that was in NZ dollars (.70c to the U.S Dollar)and was referring to Westerners doing Missionary work. The actual quote is
    “We are unfocused and ineffective with world mission, with the total cost of Christian outreach averaging $330,000 for each and every newly baptised person.”
    http://www.edgenet.org.nz/ideasfromedge/thechurchhashaditsday.htm

    cheers Philip
    http://www.everyhomeachurch.blog.co.uk

  3. 3-14-2007

    Geoff,

    Since I posted this, I’ve been wondering how the churches in China have managed to multiply rapidly with very little money…

    Philip,

    Thanks for posting the “shocking facts” and for clearing up some of the money issues.

    -Alan

  4. 3-14-2007

    The same 70 wouldn’t be so bad if they had already built another church or two of another 70.

  5. 3-14-2007

    Bryan,

    I agree. That would be wonderful! Do you know any groups of 70 that have done this?

    -Alan

  6. 3-14-2007

    I’m afraid this rings all too true, generally, in what I’ve seen during my life, and now.

    One thing that’s really kicking me in the ribs lately: the overhead expense we have just to be church, as in our Sunday gathering. It is atrocious. Money that could be used for actual mission. This is especially hard, for a congregation that has lost alot of people. Those seem to work together.

    Interesting thoughts, Alan. Thanks.

  7. 3-14-2007

    Ted,

    Good thoughts. I guess if the expenses are truly necessary, then there is no waste. I wonder, though, if those kind of expenses are truly necessary.

    -Alan

  8. 3-14-2007

    Ted, Just today a guy I know was bemoaning the fact that he had been a huge part of helping a church raise $15 million for a building project. He said, I didn’t think then like I do now, and now I just don’t get churches owning big buildings. Particularly when they are often locked tight as a drum serving no purpose but looking pretty.

  9. 3-14-2007

    Bryan,

    I know that there are many things that I have done and taught that, looking back, I now see have nothing to do with the church. But, that was what I was taught would make God happy. I think it did make some happy. I’m not sure God was that thrilled with most of it.

    -Alan