Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Analyzing Data & Doing Something About It

On my recent trip to Savannah, I read through the 2005 Georgia Baptist Convention Annual to get up to speed on Savannah-area churches. I know, I know, I really need a hobby, but I am genuinely interested in this stuff. I love numbers and statistics and think they have real value in formulating strategy to make the church more effective. So imagine my surprise when I found the following:
-In 2005, there were 32,000 members of Southern Baptist churches in the Savannah Baptist Association.
-In 2005, these 32,000 baptized 526 new believers in their churches.

Now think about that. Get out your calculator. That is 32,000/500 or 60.8. It took 61 church members a year to baptize 1 new believer in Savannah in 2005. So how does the Savannah Baptist Association go about increasing the number of baptisms? How can they reach more people with the gospel even as more and more people move into the area?

There are roughly 300,000 people in Savannah with 41,000 new homes already approved in the area. Effingham County, to the northeast of the city, is the 28th fastest growing county in America. So as we look at the picture above, we need a drastic solution.

Ah ha!

The average new church baptizes 1 person a year for every 10 people. What if we could plant and grow a church next year in every one of the 21 sites we identified this week? That is 21 churches x (average church size in Savannah) 150 people /10 or 315 new baptized believers in Savannah next year. Look what happens if we add those new Christ-followers into this equation and each of those new churches plants a church every year in Savannah and then each of those plants a church and so on:
2007: 315
2008: 630
2009: 1260
2010: 2530
2011: 5040
2012: 10080
2013: 20160
2014: 40320
2015: 80640
2016: 161280
2017: 322560 new baptized Christ-followers

In ten years, according to this new math, we would reach the current population of Savannah, not counting what existing churches are doing and those in other denominations and not accounting for a church size larger than 150. So why can't we do it? Why can't we make the math work in a good way?

This is not about new churches vs. old churches. There are plenty of churches of every age who are effective or ineffective. What we are certain of is that planting multiplying churches is our most effective way to reach people with the gospel. This truth has been proven time and again in place after place. And if the churches in Savannah can plant new churches exponentially, it will happen there too. And what a satisfaction, what a joy to participate in this great kingdom-building experience! As a pastor, I am learning that our church's greatest legacy is going to be the hundreds of daughter and grand-daughter churches that are planted through us and the churches we plant.

I know my math is a little funny, but you get the point, don't you? What would it take to see this happen in your area? Let me encourage you to find the numbers, do the math and then do some new math. What would it take to see this happen where you live?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I need a calculator.

8:14 AM  
Blogger Roger Ferrell said...

Me too! Math is not my best subject, but it is fun to think about what God can do, isn't it?

2:10 PM  

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