Time for Everything
1/28/14 at 08:34 PM 0 Comments

State of the Church 2014

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Photo: Mostphotos/Vladyslav Starozhylov

In January many pastors preach a sermon on the state of their church. A quick review of YouTube turned up at least 30 such sermons for 2014. On January 12th First Baptist Church Dallas Pastor Robert Jeffress preached a sermon on this topic.

Unlike tonight's State of the Union address, there were no celebrity guests, no partisan politics and money was barely mentioned. Instead Jeffress focused on the parable of the sower. Jeffress explains that the seed represents the Gospel message, not salvation, and the soils represent how people respond to this message.

In his State of the Church sermon Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, challenged his congregation to engage the world: "In order to learn cultural engagement, we have to engage. We must not capitulate, and we must not run away. We must engage. This means knowing, loving, and praying for non-believers—without trying to become like them."

Perhaps the most interesting report on the state of the church is found in the annual January issue of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (IMBR) which features the Status of Global Mission chart. Todd Johnson and Peter Crossing at The Center for the Study of Global Christianity compile a statistical snapshot of Christianity.

The most tragic statistic of 2014: $39 billion will be embezzled globally by Christian leaders while only $35 billion will be spent on foreign missions.

According to their research, 33% of the world population claims to be Christian. The Christian population will reach 2,265,824,000 worldwide in 2014 and more than 690 million of these Christians will not attend a church.

The Bulletin also reveals that missions funding is becoming less effective in producing converts. $626 billion will be given to churches and parachurch ministries. The cost spent per baptism will be $753,000. This figure is high because many dying churches are not producing any new converts.

This annual report is the result of the late missions researcher Dr. David Barrett's interest in Christian finance. Todd Johnson told Christian Headlines that Barrett was "developing a balance sheet for global Christianity."

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